So far there have been 20 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK, with symptoms similar to smallpox and chickenpox
US President Joe Biden has called the global monkeypox virus outbreak “something to worry about”.
So how is the virus being treated — and what warning has President Biden issued about it?
What is monkey pox?
As the name suggests, it descended from monkeys but can also spread through wild animals like rats, mice, and squirrels.
It can spread to humans if they are bitten by or touch an infected animal’s blood, body fluids, spots, blisters, or scabs.
Scientists also believe it can be transmitted through meat from an infected animal that has not been properly cooked or has come in contact with infected animal skin or fur.
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people because it requires close physical contact.
According to the NHS, you can get it from someone else in the following ways:
- 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
Symptoms can take five to 21 days to appear and can include:
- a high temperature
- Muscle cramp
- back pain
- swollen glands
- tremors (chills)
A rash also usually appears between one and five days after the first symptoms appear, usually first on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
Symptoms usually subside within two to four weeks.
So far there have been 92 confirmed monkeypox cases worldwide with a further 28 suspected cases.
Affected countries include:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
- United States of America
The outbreak is believed to have originated in West Africa, with the virus being most prevalent in remote regions of Central and West Africa.
The risk of contracting monkeypox in the UK is said to be low.
How is monkeypox treated in the UK?
On Sunday (May 22), Dr. Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), warned that more cases were being confirmed “every day”.
She told the BBC’s Sunday Morning program that the weekend’s figures would be released on Monday (23 May).
dr Hopkins revealed that doctors were now observing community transmission and that cases were overwhelmingly occurring in people who identified as gay or bisexual, or in men who had sex with other men.
These cases were mainly found in urban centers.
“We would encourage anyone who has regularly rotated sexual partners or who is in close contact with people they don’t know to speak up if they develop a rash,” said Dr. Hopkins.
She also revealed how doctors treated those who had close contacts with cases.
“There is no direct vaccine for monkeypox, but we use a form of smallpox vaccine — a third-generation smallpox vaccine that is safe in contacts of cases,” said Dr. Hopkins.
“We don’t use it in the general population, we use it in people who we think are at high risk of developing symptoms and we use it early, particularly within four or five days after the case has developed symptoms .
“For contacts, (this) reduces your risk of contracting disease, so that’s where we’re focusing our vaccination efforts.”
What did Joe Biden say about monkeypox?
Joe Biden briefly commented on the outbreak of the monkeypox virus during his first visit to Asia as US President on Sunday.
In his first public comments on the disease, Mr. Biden said, “It is worrying in that there would be consequences if it were to spread.”
He added, “They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it’s something everyone should be concerned about.”
Mr Biden also said the US was “working hard” on its response to virus and vaccine development.
According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the US has stockpiles of a “vaccine relevant to the treatment of monkeypox.”
Additional coverage by the PA news agency
https://www.nationalworld.com/health/monkeypox-virus-outbreak-monkeypox-uk-cases-us-president-joe-biden-warning-3704163 Monkeypox outbreak latest: UK cases set to ‘rise’ on Monday