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Monkeypox cases confirmed in the UK

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Monkeypox is thought to be from Africa Monkeypox is thought to be from Africa

Seven cases of the rare disease Monkeypox have been confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Investigations are underway to establish links between the latest 4 cases, who all appear to have been infected in London. All 4 of these cases self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (MSM).

Currently, common contacts have been identified for 2 of the 4 latest cases.

There is no link to travel to a country where monkeypox is endemic, and exactly where and how they acquired their infections remains under urgent investigation, including whether they have further links to each other.

‘This is rare and unusual. UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections because the evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact,’ said Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA.

‘We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay. We are contacting any potential close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice.’

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

‘While investigations remain ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasise it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with an infected symptomatic person. The overall risk to the general public remains very low,’ said Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA.

We are contacting any potential close contacts of the case. We are also working with the NHS to reach any healthcare contacts who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.

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