Anyone with Monkeypox infection concerns should seek medical advice, says East Riding public health director

East Riding of Yorklshire Council’s public health lead has said anyone with monkeypox symptoms should seek medical advice as case numbers continue to rise nationally.

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Friday, 10th June 2022, 11:08 am
Monkeypox could spread when someone comes into contact with an infected person, with symptoms appearing between five and 21 days later.
Monkeypox could spread when someone comes into contact with an infected person, with symptoms appearing between five and 21 days later.

Public health director Andy Kingdom said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was monitoring the spread of monkeypox, first found in the UK in May.

The director added a notable proportion of cases had been found in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and they were urged to be particularly vigilant.

It comes as a total of 302 monkeypox cases have been found in the UK since the virus was first detected in the country on Saturday, May 7.

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The total number of cases rose by 73 in England and two in Scotland and Wales from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5.

The latest figures put the total found in each nation at 287 in England, 10 in Scotland, three in Wales and two in Northern Ireland.

Mr Kingdom said monkeypox could spread when someone comes into contact with an infected person, with symptoms appearing between five and 21 days later.

The director said: “Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by the monkeypox virus and one of the symptoms is a rash that is sometimes confused with chickenpox.

“It is usually associated with travel to Central or West Africa but cases have been occurring in England with no travel links.

“The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms 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.

“The rash changes and goes through different stages, a bit like chicken pox, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

“Anyone with concerns that they could be infected should see a health professional but make contact with the clinic or surgery ahead of a visit.”

Monkeypox can spread through close contact either by touching infected bedding, clothing or towels used by someone with the virus.

It can also be transmitted if someone touches monkeypox blisters or scabs or if an infected person coughs or sneezes close to someone else.

The UKHSA has said gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men should contact sexual health services without delay if they develop unusual rashes or lesions.

The agency is currently carrying out extensive contact tracing of anyone who has come into contact with confirmed cases to stop the virus spreading further.

The source of the infections is also being investigated.