UK's monkeypox epicentre revealed – as 86% cases traced to one city

THE EPICENTRE of the UK’s monkeypox outbreak has been revealed.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed new findings into the virus today, after cases surged from May.

So far, there have been 190 confirmed cases of monkeypox identified from 6th to 31st May.

A total of 183 were in England, four were in Scotland, two were in Northern Ireland and one was in Wales.

Looking at England’s cases, the UKHSA revealed that 86 per cent were in one city.

London has the most cases of country – and the UK – with 132 identified so far.

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The second “hotspot” is the South East, where 10 cases have been reported. 

Health chiefs continue to see a trend in the groups that monkeypox is spreading within.

Some 111 cases are known to be gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). Only two cases have been in women.

The World Health Organisation has said this may be because men in this community are more likely to come forward to sexual health clinics when they have symptoms.

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Investigations to date have identified links to gay bars, saunas and the use of dating apps in the UK and abroad, the UKHSA said.

Investigations continue but currently no single factor or exposure that links the cases has been identified.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health said: “Monkeypox can affect anyone but we know that many of the most recent diagnoses are in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, many of whom live in, or have links to London. 

“We’re reminding everyone of the symptoms of monkeypox, and especially gay and bisexual men in particular, to be especially aware and seek advice immediately by calling NHS111 or their local sexual health clinic if they have concerns.”

He added that the “the risk of stigma and uncertainty” around the gay community is high.

The key symptoms of monkeypox include a fever, chills, and chickenpox-like rash.

Cases of monkeypox across England

East of England​: 5

East Midlands​: <5

London​: 132

North East: <5

North West​: <5

South East​: 10

South West​: <5 ​

West Midlands: <5

Yorkshire and Humber​: <5

Unknown​*: 27

Total​: 183

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “We are working to break chains of transmission, including by contact tracing and vaccination. 

“We are grateful to everyone who has come forward for testing and it is extremely important that everyone continues to be aware of the symptoms and to seek advice if they have concerns.

“We are reminding people to look out for new spots, ulcers or blisters on any part of their body. 

“If anyone suspects they might have monkeypox, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others.

"Contact NHS 111 or [your] local sexual health service as soon as possible, though please phone ahead before attending in person.”

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, which just means that it’s consistently present, and accounts for some 9,000 cases a year.

But it has been unusually spreading in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world.

In most cases monkeypox is a mild disease and clears up on its own.

The symptoms

All Brits should be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.

The signs may include – according to the UKHSA and previous medical reports:

  1. Fever

2. Headache

3. Muscle aches

4. Backache

5. Chills

6. Exhaustion

7. Night sweats

8. Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose

9. Swollen lymph nodes

10. Swollen groin

11. Rash

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Complications of the illness have been documented as:

12. Low mood

13. Severe pain

14. Conjunctivitis

Medics have urged Brits who have these signs to visit their local sexual health clinic rather than call 111, after phone operators saw a surge in calls related to the illness.

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