Monkeypox: 11 new cases confirmed in UK as outbreak spreads

Eleven more cases of monkeypox have been found in the UK, health chiefs say, bringing the total to 20.

The World Health Organisation has reportedly called an emergency meeting after the tally more than doubled.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had confirmed the new infections.

The new cases come on top of the nine previously identified.

The initial recent case was diagnosed in someone who had returned from Nigeria, but the UK cases are not all one cluster, with unconnected cases appearing.

Most people infected had mild symptoms, Mr Javid said.

The World Health Organisation says about one in 10 cases is fatal.

Patients at first suffer fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching and a general listlessness. After the fever breaks, sufferers experience skin eruptions, with a rash that spreads across the face, followed by the rest of the body, particularly the palms and soles.

The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off after about three weeks.

“UKHSA have confirmed 11 new cases of monkeypox in the UK,” Mr Javid said.

“This morning I updated G7 health ministers on what we know so far.

“Most cases are mild, and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox.”

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

Several UK cases have been confirmed in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who have attended sexual health services.

The disease is not normally sexually transmitted, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

It can also be spread through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the rash, and through coughs and sneezes.

It’s believed the World Health Organisation will discuss how the virus is being spread, the unusually high prevalence in gay and bisexual men, and the vaccination situation.

Some UK healthcare workers have been offered the smallpox vaccine as monkeypox cases spread further across the globe.

Australia has reported its first monkeypox case, in a traveller who recently returned from Britain. The US, Canada, Belgium, Portugal, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden have all also reported their first cases in recent days.

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