All you need to know about monkeypox after global emergency declared

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The World Health Organization has declared that monkeypox outbreaks in more than 95 countries are a global emergency.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox and cases are commonly found in West and Central Africa, with the virus not often spreading elsewhere.

This is why the outbreak of outbreaks in many countries, including the UK and across Europe, has caused concern among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

What are the symptoms?

Most monkeypox patients only experience fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue, but some may have a rash and sores on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis and may form a scab that then falls off.

Most people recover within a few weeks.

The incubation period of monkeypox usually ranges from six to 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days.

Monkeypox lesion stages (UKHSA/PA)

How is monkeypox spread?

The most likely route of monkeypox transmission is close physical contact, touching a person’s used clothing, bedding or towels, or touching a blister or crust of monkeypox’s skin.

There is a small risk of spreading it through coughs and sneezes and, while prolonged face-to-face contact will be required, it is not one of the main routes of transmission of the monkeypox virus.

It is believed that sexual intercourse puts people at a higher risk of contracting the disease, although it is not known whether it is sexually transmitted, but the close physical contact involved means the chances of being exposed to it are higher.

Most of the cases observed so far are of gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Eleven more cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UK, bringing the total to 20 (Alamy/PA).

What is the level of risk in the UK?

The type of monkeypox involved in the outbreak is a West African variety that is said to be fatal in only one percent of cases.

The UKHSA said that, following the declaration of a global emergency by the WHO, the risk to the UK remains the same.

When did monkeypox come to the UK?

The first case linked to the current outbreak was reported in England on 7 May 2022.

Scotland reported its first case on 23 May, while Wales and Northern Ireland confirmed cases on 26 May.

How many cases are there in the UK currently?

As of 22 August, there are 3,207 confirmed and 133 highly probable monkeypox cases in the UK, or a total of 3,340, According to the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA).

Of these, 3,191 are in England, with a high proportion of cases believed to be in London.

What is the current public health guidance for monkeypox?

UKHSA guidance for close contacts of a confirmed monkeypox case has been updated to advise that close contacts do not need to isolate at home if they do not have symptoms.

Close contacts are advised to call NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic if they develop a fever or any monkeypox symptoms and to avoid skin-to-skin contact with others, if possible international travel. Avoid and tell health or dental facility staff that they are in a close contact before attending appointments.

Since it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with someone with monkeypox, people are advised to avoid exposure to symptoms after skin-to-skin or sexual contact with a new person. stay alert.

Why has WHO declared a global emergency?

As of 23 August, over 41,664 cases and 12 deaths were reported from approximately 96 countries and territories, According to the latest WHO data,

The body’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has acknowledged that the committee was unable to reach a consensus on whether the outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.

But he said it is an outbreak “that has spread rapidly around the world, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand little, and which meets the criteria in international health regulations” and therefore They had decided that it should be declared a global emergency.

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