The number of cases of monkeypox has risen by 71, according to data released today. This brings the total number of cases in the UK to 172 after the first case was registered on May 7th.
Four of the UK’s confirmed cases are in Scotland, one in Wales, two in Northern Ireland and the rest in England. The huge spike in cases comes after no new data was released over the weekend.
In response to the new cases announced by the UK Health Security Agency, they said: “The risk to the UK population remains low but we are asking people to be alert for new skin rashes or lesions which would appear as patches or ulcers or blisters, on any one part of her body.
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“While this advice applies to everyone, the majority of cases identified to date have involved gay, bisexual men and men who have sex with men, so we specifically ask these individuals to be aware of the symptoms, particularly if they have recently had a new sex partner .”
They added: “You should call NHS 111 or a sexual health center immediately if you have a blistered rash and either:
“You have been in close contact with someone in the last three weeks who has or may have monkeypox (even if they have not yet been tested).
“You have been to West or Central Africa in the last 3 weeks or you are a man who has sex with men.”
The new cases come amid new guidance from UK health chiefs advising anyone with monkeypox to abstain from sex. The new guidance advises all Brits with the virus to stop having sex immediately.
Brits should wait for their lesions to heal and the scab to dry before drinking again. The guidance comes because the highest risk of transmission of the virus is through direct physical contact, meaning sex could serve as a breeding ground for the spread.
Over 300 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox were registered in Europe in May. It comes amid warnings from the World Health Organization that the current number of cases may be just the “tip of the iceberg”.
Health Minister Sajid Javid warned of rising cases but claimed the vast majority of cases are mild. He also said Britain was stocking up on more doses of vaccines effective against the virus.
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