27th May, 2022
Another 12 monkeypox cases have been reported across the UK as the virus usually only seen in Africa continues to sweep the world.
UK Health Security Agency bosses confirmed cases have hit 90, after England logged eight more infections and Scotland spotted another two.
Wales and Northern Ireland also declared their first cases, Mail Online reports Friday.
Officials stated the ‘majority’ have occurred among gay and bisexual men but didn’t provide an exact breakdown. No gender or age details have been shared, either.
Despite the rising cases, health chiefs have insisted the risk to the population ‘remains low’.
However, the UKHSA has asked the public, especially men who have sex with men, to be alert to any new rashes or lesions on any part of their body.
Nineteen countries across the world – mainly in Europe – have now detected the smallpox-like virus over the past three weeks.
At least 265 infections have been spotted worldwide.
Infections are usually only detected sporadically outside of west and central Africa, where the virus is endemic in animals.
Imported outbreaks have always fizzled out naturally after a few cases.
UKHSA’s chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said new monkeypox cases were being spotted ‘promptly’ due to ‘extensive surveillance and contact tracing networks’.
The agency is considering an online dashboard which tracks case numbers — a method which sparked controversy during the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes as experts warned on Thursday Britain is not prepared to embark on a mass monkeypox vaccination scheme if the current outbreak continues to spiral.
The UK has around 5,000 jabs and has ordered 20,000 more.
Close contacts are the only group being offered the jab. But leading scientists have suggested the next step could involve a rollout to gay and bisexual men, given a ‘notable proportion’ of cases are among that community.
Some scientists have suggested that the virus may have been spreading silently in the UK since 2018, and that the current flare-up may have actually taken off ‘by chance’ after entering ‘the population that is at present amplifying transmission’.
Ministers are expected to tell those with an unusual rash — a tell-tale sign of monkeypox — to stay away from their pets.
Experts have raised alarm that spread to cats, dogs and other pets may allow the virus to become endemic among animals in Britain.