UK monkeypox cases hit 1,500 as vaccine rollout begins and public told 'be vigilant' | The Sun

MONKEYPOX cases have hit 1,500 as the public have been told to be “vigilant”.

A vaccine rollout has begun to try and keep a lid on the outbreak – which shows no signs of slowing.

The monkepox caseload has gone up by 14 per cent in three days, the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed.

An additional 201 cases have been detected between July 4 and 7, bringing the total to 1,552. 

The outbreak, which has been rumbling on since May, shows “no signs of a decline”, UKHSA said.

Almost every identified person with the virus has been a gay or bisexual man.

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There is no evidence as of yet that the bug has spilled outside of this group, UKHSA said. 

A vaccination programme is beginning, and sexual health services will offer the vaccine to anyone considered to be at higher risk of exposure. 

“This includes people with a recent history of multiple partners, participating in group sex, attending sex on premises venues, or have recently had a bacterial sexually transmitted infection,” health chiefs said.

Some 17 per cent of patients who have given information said they had been to a sex party of some kind, new data reveals. 

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Experts have said that monkeypox is not a “gay disease”, and more likely a mere coincidence the virus has infilitrated this community. 

Monkeypox can be spread by skin-to-skin contact and investigations show people are picking it up through sex.

Its most characteristic symptoms is a rash, causing blisters that scab over time.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA said: “It’s concerning that we are continuing to see the outbreak grow and we urge the public to do all they can to help us slow the spread.

“If you’ve recently had new or multiple sexual partners, please be vigilant to the symptoms of monkeypox, and be aware that many of the cases we’re seeing are finding only a single, or few, lesions.

“If you are concerned that you may have monkeypox, take a break from events, meeting with friends or having sexual contact. 

“Instead, stay at home and contact 111 or your local sexual health service for advice. Please contact the clinic ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you’ve been reviewed by a clinician.

“To assist with our contact tracing, we encourage everyone to ensure they exchange contact details with sexual partners.

“If you are called forward for vaccination, we strongly recommend that you take it.”

The average age of those infected is 36 years old, with London becoming the epicentre (75 per cent of cases).

Monkeypox is a zoonotic infection that occurs mostly in West and Central Africa. 

The handful of previous cases in the UK have been either imported from countries where monkeypox is usually found.

But for the first time, the virus is spreading through parts of the population. 

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The rise in the UK comes as the US has also now recorded 700 cases of the bug.

California is the worst hit with 136 cases, followed by New York, where 131 have been detected.

The 11 signs of monkeypox you need to know

Experts at the UK Health Security Agency have said all Brits should be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.

The signs may include:

  1. Fever
  2. Headache
  3. Muscle aches
  4. Backache
  5. Chills
  6. Exhaustion
  7. Night sweats
  8. Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose
  9. Swollen lymph nodes
  10. Swollen groin
  11. Rash

Medics said that complications of the illness were documented as:

  • low mood
  • severe pain
  • conjunctivitis

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