Monkeypox cases in Scotland increase amid ‘limited’ supplies of vaccine

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said there have now been 79 laboratory confirmed cases of the disease.

While it said anyone can get monkeypox, it stressed that “most cases in Scotland are in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men” and “primarily associated with recent travel to London or Europe”.

With a “limited global supply” of the smallpox vaccine, which can also protect against monkeypox, PHS medical director Dr Nick Phin said staff are working with others across the UK to boost stocks.

He said: “As we know, there is a limited global supply of the smallpox vaccine which offers protection against monkeypox, and remaining available doses are being administered at pace in Scotland as this gives the greatest opportunity to contain spread while numbers are still relatively small.

A registered nurse prepares a dose of a monkeypox vaccine (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

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“PHS continues to work with colleagues across the UK to ensure additional vaccinations are available, and is closely following the work of the pilot sites in England looking at the use of intradermal administration of the vaccine.”

He added: “If you are currently unvaccinated, please ensure you are aware of the signs and symptoms, take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to monkeypox and seek medical advice if you think you may have the infection.”

PHS has previously said anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice via telephone if they have any concerns.