The NHS in London, along with local public health teams, will be accelerating the rollout of the monkeypox vaccine from this week, prioritising individuals who are most likely to get the virus.
NHS staff across the country have already started vaccinating eligible gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (GBMSM), along with the frontline staff at greatest risk of exposure and those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case, in line with the UK Health Security Agency advice.
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‘While the risk of monkeypox remains very low and nearly every case we have seen so far has recovered quickly, over 2,000 people have been affected by the virus,’ said Steve Russell, NHS Director of Vaccinations.
‘On the whole, the cases we are seeing are among gay and bisexual men or men who have sex with men, with a significant number coming from London and so it is vital that those who are most likely to get the virus get vaccinated as quickly as possible. The NHS is now scaling up its plans to get people vaccinated, particularly in London, thanks to the efforts of staff who are working hard to help stop onward spread, in line with UKHSA advice.’
The UKHSA recently updated the symptom list to include a single lesion or lesions on the genitals, anus and surrounding area, lesions in the mouth, and symptoms of proctitis (anal or rectal pain or bleeding), especially if the individual has had a new sexual partner recently.
‘We continue to see new diagnoses of monkeypox, passed on primarily through close or sexual contact,’ said Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA.
‘We have updated our case definitions to reflect the clinical presentations that have been seen during this outbreak. It is important to recognise that just one or two genital or anal lesions, or lesions in the mouth can be signs of monkeypox, especially if you have had a new sexual partner.’