Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.

UK monkeypox cases more than double again as outbreak continues to spread

The number of monkeypox cases in the UK has risen to 57, the UK Health Security Agency said today.

On Friday, there were 20 cases in England and that figure was expected to climb, with a further 36 now confirmed.

Scotland today also recorded its first case, taking the total to 57.

Dr Nick Phin, the medical and public health science director at Public Health Scotland, said the infected individual is "being managed and treated in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance".

Yesterday, it was reported that a child was said to be in intensive care with the virus.

It does not usually spread easily between people.

But can be passed on through close person-to-person contact or contact with items used by a person who has monkeypox, such as clothes, bedding or utensils.

An expert said superspreader events are likely to be behind the rise in global cases, with 14 different countries identifying cases, according to Harvard University.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of Wellcome, said "we have never seen anything like this before, with such a number of cases" in so many countries.

However, monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks.

Are you suffering from monkeypox? Let us know at webnews@mirror.co.uk

More monkeypox cases have been detected in the UK (Getty Images)

The UKHSA has purchased supplies of a safe smallpox vaccine and this is being offered to identified close contacts of someone diagnosed with monkeypox to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and severe illness.

Downing Street said there are no plans to hold a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee over monkeypox or to impose any travel bans.

Anyone with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, should immediately contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service.

A notable proportion of cases detected have been in gay and bisexual men and so UKHSA continues to urge this community to be alert to monkeypox symptoms.

People should notify clinics ahead of their visit and can be assured their call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

The UKHSA expects the number of monkeypox cases to rise (REUTERS)

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said: “Alongside reports of further cases being identified in other countries globally, we continue to identify additional cases in the UK.

"Thank you to everyone who has come forward for testing already and supported our contact tracing efforts – you are helping us limit the spread of this infection in the UK."

Dr Phin went on to describe the risk to the public as low, but warned anyone with "blister-like sores" on their body to seek medical attention.

PHS did not say where the person was being treated or where they were located but said close contacts were being traced and would be given support, including the possibility of vaccination.

High-risk contacts of monkeypox patients are required to isolate for three weeks, guidance from UK health chiefs states.

Scabs like this are a symptom of monkeypox (Getty Images)

Others who had a lesser degree of exposure are advised to steer clear of children, people with conditions affecting their immune systems and pregnant women - but are not required to stay home.

Today, a UK Government Minister assured that monkeypox is not a "repeat of" Covid-19.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke told Sky News: "As with any new disease, and obviously after the Covid pandemic doubly so, we continue to monitor this very closely.

"I would say I am cautious but I am certainly not concerned about our ability to handle the situation.

"There is a vaccine which is available and works for monkeypox, and all the evidence is that it is spread by physical contact.

"That being the case, the risk of community transmission is much lower, we have a working vaccine, if people present with symptoms or have very close contact, then we are advising that they quarantine for three weeks but the threshold for that is quite high - it really does have to be close physical or sexual contact."

Mr Clarke said he was not aware of reports of a baby being in intensive care with monkeypox, adding: "What I would say is we are cautious but we are certainly not in a position where I would in any way worry the public that this is some repeat of Covid because it certainly does not appear to be anywhere near the same platform of seriousness."

Initial symptoms of the virus include fever or high temperature; head, muscle and backache; swollen lymph nodes; chills and exhaustion.

A blister-like rash or a small number of blister-like sores can also develop, starting on the face but spreading across the body.

The rash changes throughout the infection, finally forming a scab which falls off within weeks.

Those with the virus are infectious between the time that symptoms start and when the last scab falls off.