GB News: Tempers flare over monkeypox 'hysteria'
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Nearly 80 official cases of monkeypox have now been reported across the UK after a further seven infections were announced on Wednesday. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 19 countries where the virus is non-endemic have recorded cases, while more are expected to report outbreaks in the coming weeks.
Britain has reported 78 cases of monkeypox in total, up to May 25, nearly all of which have been detected in England.
Scotland has announced one official case, while none have been reported in either Wales or Northern Ireland.
Health experts said that the risk to the wider population remains low, despite the outbreak of cases.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has updated how it defines a probable case of the virus.
A likely infection now included anyone with an unexplained rash on their body, plus one or more classic symptoms of monkeypox.
If someone did develop symptoms, it would mean that monkeypox has been present in British communities for more than two months.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said: “We are continuing to promptly detect new monkeypox cases through our extensive surveillance network and NHS services.
“If anyone suspects they might have rashes or lesions on any part of their body, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service as soon as possible – though please phone ahead before attending in person.”
High risk contacts who remain well are currently being advised to self-isolate at home for three weeks.
The UKHSA has also purchased supplies of a safe smallpox vaccine – known as Imvanex – which is being offered to close contacts of those diagnosed with monkeypox.
As the two viruses share similarities, a smallpox jab offers some good protection against monkeypox.
The Imvanex smallpox vaccine is about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.
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In the UK, monkeypox is thought to already be spreading within communities.
The majority of cases around the world have been reported in Europe, where health officials have warned the virus could be passed from humans to pets and then wildlife, becoming endemic.
Outside of central and western Africa – where the virus was first discovered in 1958 – it’s rare for countries to report outbreaks.
Monkeypox transmission between humans is rare. It usually passes from wild animals – such as rodents – to people.
Globally, 219 monkeypox cases have been officially reported in 19 countries – correct as of Wednesday, May 25. This includes:
- Czech Republic
- United Arab Emirates
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