How is monkeypox transmitted? 20 cases confirmed in UK

The UK Health Security Agency has issued new isolation guidelines as 20 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UK

New self-isolation guidance for close contacts of those infected with monkeypox has been issued as 20 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now recommending that people who have had “unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental exposure” should isolate for three weeks.

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This means they are not allowed to travel or have direct contact with immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children under the age of 12. They are also required to provide contact tracing details and the UKHSA advises they will be offered a smallpox vaccine.

Cases have been detected in London and both the north-east and south-east of England and the health agency is working to find out if there are any links between the cases.

The first case was in a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the infection before traveling to the UK.

dr UKHSA senior medical adviser Susan Hopkins warned that monkeypox is spreading through community transmission and said updated figures for the weekend will be released on Monday as she warned of more cases “on a daily basis”.

The disease, which first appeared in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus.

dr Hopkins warned that doctors are seeing community transmission, with cases being predominantly identified in people who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or in men who have sex with other men.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox causes lesions on the mouth and body (Composite: Kim Mogg / NationalWorld)

It is believed to be spread by rodents such as rats, mice and squirrels and can be caught if you are bitten by an infected animal or if you touch its blood, bodily fluids, spots, blisters or scabs.

It may also be possible to contract the disease by eating meat from an infected animal that has not been thoroughly cooked, or by touching other infected products such as animal skin or fur.

That NHS warns that it can be spread by:

  • Touching clothing, sheets, or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox rash
  • Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs
  • the coughing or sneezing of a person with the monkeypox rash

How contagious is it?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), human-to-human transmission of monkeypox is relatively limited.

However, it is possible for it to be spread through close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions from an infected person, or recently contaminated objects, but transmission via respiratory particles by droplets usually requires prolonged personal contact.

Monkeypox virus infection begins with an incubation period that averages between seven and 14 days, but can range from five to 21 days. A person is not contagious during this time and usually has no symptoms.

Those infected with monkeypox develop an early set of symptoms, including fever, headache, and weakness, and can sometimes be contagious during this time.

After this, lesions in the mouth and body develop and go through several stages before falling off. A person is contagious from the onset of the lesions to the scab stage.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

If you are infected with monkeypox, it can take anywhere from five to 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. The first symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • headache
  • Muscle cramp
  • back pain
  • swollen glands
  • tremors (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears between one and five days after the first symptoms and usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox because it begins as raised patches that turn into small, fluid-filled blisters.

These blisters eventually form crusts that later fall off and the symptoms should go away within two to four weeks. How is monkeypox transmitted? 20 cases confirmed in UK


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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