On Wednesday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed six more cases of the virus, which appear to be spreading from person to person
London is the epicenter of Britain’s monkey pox outbreak, with almost 70 per cent of cases reported in the capital so far, health chiefs have revealed.
Yesterday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed six more cases of the virus, which appear to be spreading from person to person.
So far, there have been 188 monkey cups in England, of which 132 are in London.
There are also five confirmed cases in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales, bringing the UK up to 196.
UKHSA said 111 cases are known to be in gay, bisexual or other men having sex with men (GBMSM). Only two cases are in women.
It said: “The current outbreak is the first time that the virus has been transmitted from person to person in England, where travel links to an endemic country have not been identified.”
Recent foreign travel to a number of European countries in the last three weeks has been reported by 34 confirmed cases – about 18 percent of those affected up to this point.
So far, UKHSA has identified links to gay bars, saunas and the use of dating apps in the UK and abroad.
“Investigations are ongoing, but at present no single factor or exposure has been identified linking the cases,” the agency said.
Kevin Fenton, London’s regional director of public health, said: “As with any new disease outbreak, the risk of stigma and insecurity is high.”
UKHSA works with groups, including the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV and the dating app Grindr, to communicate with sexual health services and the GBMSM community.
It also encourages the LGBT consortium and Pride organizers to help with messages in the coming weeks.
Monkey pox typically causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions that usually go away on their own within a few weeks, but can kill a small proportion of those infected.
The UK health authorities are offering Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine, Imvanex, for contact with confirmed or suspected cases.
Cases of monkey pox continue to rise outside Africa, mostly in Europe, and researchers are trying to pinpoint the causes of the spread.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said it had so far received reports of more than 550 confirmed cases of the virus from 30 countries outside Africa.
According to an update on Tuesday, this is the number of confirmed cases in each region:
- East of England – 5
- East Midlands – under 5
- London 132
- Northeast – under 5
- Northwest – under 5
- Southeast – 10
- Southwest – under 5
- West Midlands – Under 5
- Yorkshire and the Humber – under 5
- Region unknown – 27