Monkeypox: Dr Chris outlines the main symptoms
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The number of cases for the virus is set to rise today as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) urges high-risk contacts to self-isolate for three weeks to hold back the spread. The UKSHA has confirmed 20 cases in the UK, and is recommending close contacts stay away from work and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children aged under 12 where possible for 21 days. Asked about the risk to Britons going to summer festivals or going on holiday, chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said people “need to be alert” to the virus.
Dr Hopkins also warned that more cases are being found “on a daily basis”.
She told the BBC: “The risk to the general population [from monkeypox] remains extremely low.
“People need to be alert to it, and we really want clinicians to be alert to it.
She added that anyone who feels ill with any symptoms need to “stay at home”, urging those with a suspicious rash to “’immediately seek medical care, either by calling your GP or a sexual health clinic.”
Dr Hopkins went on to warn that the disease is being transmitted within the UK, with some infected people having “no identified contact with an individual from west Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country.”
She added the transmission is “largely centred in urban areas” and is primarily affecting “ individuals who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.”
She added: “We would recommend to anyone who’s having changes in sex partners regularly, or having close contact with individuals that they don’t know, to come forward if they develop a rash.”
Other health officials have also warned of the “significant” rise in UK infections, adding the government’s response is “critical” to contain the spread.
President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Dr Claire Dewsnap told Sky News: “Our response is really critical here.
“There is going to be more diagnoses over the next week.
“How many is hard to say. What worries me the most is there are infections across Europe, so this has already spread.
“It’s already circulating in the general population.
“Getting on top of all those people’s contacts is a massive job.
“It could be really significant numbers over the next two or three weeks.”
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection, and can be transmitted by very close contact with an infected person, including sexual intercourse.
First found in monkeys, it is usually mild, and most patients recover in a few weeks without treatment – but the disease can prove fatal.
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The strain causing the current outbreak reportedly kills one in every 100 infected.
Austrian health authorities declared today the country has recorded its first confirmed case of monkeypox in Vienna.
It is the latest of 15 countries to confirm such outbreaks.
Belgium has also introduced a compulsory 21-day monkeypox quarantine since infections were first recorded last Friday following a festival in Antwerp.
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