Monkeypox in the UK

25 may 2022

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The latest information about monkeypox and answers to frequently asked questions, including guidance for people living with HIV.

 

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection mainly spread by wild animals. It is very rare in the UK. We're still learning about this infection and we'll be updating this page as the story develops.

latest monkeypox information

  • There has been a small number of confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK, with the majority of those cases among gay and bisexual men.

  • Monkeypox spreads through close contact, so is likely being spread during sex rather than sexual transmission.

  • Everyone is being asked to be aware of the monkeypox symptoms, but it’s important gay and bisexual men are alert as it's believed to be spreading in sexual networks.

  • If you have a rash anywhere or any of the other symptoms outlined below, then contact your local sexual health service by phone – not in person.

  • The rash often starts on the face then spreads to other parts of the body, including the genitals.

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

  • All calls to your GP, a clinic, 111 or our helpline THT Direct about monkeypox will be treated sensitively and confidentially, but it’s important you are tested for monkeypox and cases are found.

  • You should isolate for 21 days if you have been in direct contact (including household or sexual contact) with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

  • Sexual health clinics are getting in touch with close contacts of anyone diagnosed with monkeypox.

The Government website has the latest information on monkeypox cases in the UK.

monkeypox symptoms

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

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the hands, pubis and genitals (penis, testicles, vulva or front hole), and anus.

background on uk cases of monkeypox

The latest cases bring the total number of monkeypox cases confirmed in the UK since Friday 6 May to 71, with recent cases predominantly in gay and bisexual men.

At present there is no link to a country where monkeypox is endemic (i.e. from travelling or being in close contact with someone who has recently travelled outside the UK), so UKHSA is working closely with the NHS to find out how these men came into contact with monkeypox. Work is already underway to trace close contacts of these latest cases, and find out if any of these contacts link these men together.

Monkeypox is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks. There are two ‘clades’ of monkeypox virus, and the individuals have the mild version.

Due to the recent increase in cases and uncertainties around where some of these individuals came into contact with monkeypox, the UKHSA are working closely with the NHS to identify if there may have been more cases in recent weeks.

Here are some more sources of information:

General information on monkeypox from NHS.

Latest Monkeypox updates from UKHSA.

General guidance on monkeypox from UKHSA.

BHIVA rapid statement on monkeypox virus.

Information reproduced from the Terence Higgins Trust website: www.tht.org.uk