Monkeypox cases in UK double as government buys more vaccines

Eleven new cases of monekypox have been confirmed in the UK, the Health Secretary has said.

Sajid Javid tweeted that he had updated G7 health ministers on what is known about the spread of the virus. There are now 20 cases recorded in the UK.

Globally, 127 cases have been reported in 11 countries, according to John Brownstein, professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School in the US, who is keeping track of global cases.

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He said: “Most cases are mild, and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox.”

Monkeypox causes a rash which goes through different stages before finally forming a scab

The Government has some stocks of the smallpox vaccine, which can be effective against monkeypox as the viruses are quite similar.

Monkeypox cases are usually found in West Africa, and the virus does not often spread elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported across Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States have cased alarm among public health experts.

The UK Health Security Agency said this week that recent had been seen “predominantly in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men”, though it noted that it was unclear how exactly people had got infected.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Thursday that the probability of transmission without close contact is low.

But it warned that “the likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact, for example during sexual activities, is considered to be high”.

It recommended that authorities and community organisations raise awareness of the outbreak among men who have sex with other men or who have casual sex or multiple partners.

Suspected cases should be isolated, it said, and the smallpox vaccine administered to high-risk close contacts.

Monkeypox typically causes fever, chills, a rash and lesions on the face or genitals resembling those caused by smallpox.

A vaccine developed against smallpox has been approved for monkeypox, and several antivirals also appear to be effective.

Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the World Health Organisation says the disease is fatal for up to one in 10 infected people.

Sporadic cases of monkeypox have been seen previously in countries including Britain and the US, but nearly all have been in people who were likely to have been infected during their travels in Africa.

What is monkeypox and what are the risks?

– What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox cases are usually found in West Africa, and the virus does not often spread elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States have cased alarm among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

– What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off.

The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days but can range from five to 21 days.

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