Monkeypox: What you need to know

The latest data from the UK Office of National Statistics reports that there are now 3,017 case of Monkeypox in the UK.

UK nationTotal*Confirmed*Highly Probable*
England2,883 (+153)2,780 (+141)103 (+12)
Northern Ireland25250
Scotland69 (+2)69 (+2)0
Wales40 (+3)40 (+3)0
Total3,017 (+158)2,914 (+146)103 (+12)
Current epidemiological situation as of 8 August 2022

Cases of monkeypox were first confirmed in England on 6th of May 2022 and since then they have been steadily increasing.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Since May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported in multiple countries that do not usually have monkeypox virus in animal or human populations, including the UK. That’s why we need to be concerned.

The UK is using contact tracing, to identify, how and where the monkeypox virus is being transmitted to others.

What does monkeypox look like?

The incubation period for monkeypox is between 5 and 21 days after becoming infected.

Monkeypox infection is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within several weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

The illness begins with:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion
  • joint pain

Within 1 to 5 days after the appearance of fever, a rash develops, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. This can include the mouth, genitals and anus. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off.

An individual is contagious until all the scabs have fallen off and there is intact skin underneath. The scabs may also contain infectious virus material.

How does a person catch monkeypox?

Monkeypox can be passed on from person to person through:

  • any close physical contact with monkeypox blisters or scabs (including during sexual contact, kissing, cuddling or holding hands)
  • touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with monkeypox
  • the coughs or sneezes of a person with monkeypox when they’re close to you

What do I do if I think someone has monkeypox?

It is important to contact your GP before visiting your local surgery.

They should stay at home and avoid close contact with other people, including sharing towels or bedding, until you’ve been told what to do.

Tell the person you speak to if the person had close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox, or if they’ve recently travelled to central or west Africa.

Call 111 for advice if you’re not able to contact a GP.

For most people, they will recover in a few weeks without treatment.

The risk of needing treatment in hospital is higher for:

  • older people
  • young children
  • people with a condition or who are taking a medicine that affects their immune system

Monkeypox is caused by a similar virus to smallpox. The smallpox (MVA) vaccine should give a good level of protection against monkeypox.

The NHS is offering smallpox (MVA) vaccination to people who are most likely to be exposed to monkeypox.

Cases worldwide

2022 Monkeypox Outbreak Global Map 08.08.2022

Click on this link for: WHO Monkeypox Factsheet

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