Monkeypox cases hit 524 as 52 new infections were detected amid fears of a ‘global emergency’

ANOTHER 52 cases of monkeypox have been detected in the UK, bringing the total to 524 infections.

The surge in cases comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to meet to discuss whether the outbreak is an emergency.

Anyone can get monkeypox and Brits have been told to see a sexual health clinic if they have symptoms


Anyone can get monkeypox and Brits have been told to see a sexual health clinic if they have symptomsPhoto credit: Getty

Around 1,600 cases have been detected around the world in recent weeks – something experts are calling “worrying”.

In the US, the total number of registered infections is 72, with California and New York having the highest number of cases.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “For this reason, I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under international health regulations next week to assess whether this outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”

There are 524 across Britain, with the majority, 504, living in England, 13 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 5 in Wales.

WHO is ready to rename monkeypox amid fears the name could fuel racism
The majority of monkeypox cases are in males in London - prime age group revealed

Anyone can get the bug — especially if you’ve had close contact, including sexual contact, with a person with symptoms.

Medical professionals say you should contact a sexual health clinic if you have a rash or blisters and if you have been in contact with someone who has had monkeypox in the past three weeks.

This guide also applies to those who have been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks.

However, the WHO will also rename the virus – in a move that could refer to the disease as hMPXV.

It comes after 30 scientists wrote a letter calling for the change, fearing it could spark racism and stigma.

Anyone can get monkeypox, and prior to the current outbreak, it was mainly found in African countries.

However, experts fear that references to the disease as African are problematic.

In a letter to the organization, scientists said that “the continued reference to and nomenclature of this virus as being Africa is not only inaccurate but also discriminatory and stigmatizing.”

The note continued, “The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photographs of African patients to portray the smallpox lesions in mainstream media in the Global North.”

A technical briefing issued by the UKHSA on Friday revealed the majority of UK cases are in London – 99 per cent of them in men.

The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old.

You need to know the signs of monkeypox

Experts at Britain’s Health Safety Agency have said all Britons should be on the lookout for important signs and symptoms.

Signs can include:

  1. Fever
  2. headache
  3. Muscle cramp
  4. back pain
  5. chills
  6. exhaustion
  7. night sweats
  8. Cold symptoms such as stuffy and runny nose
  9. Swollen lymph nodes
  10. Swollen groin
  11. rash

Medical professionals said complications of the disease were documented as:

  • Bad mood
  • strong pain
  • conjunctivitis

The UKHSA acknowledged that “traditional contact tracing is currently a challenge”.

Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

However, the data suggests that this is the main way the virus spreads.

Experts today told WHO Pride events could help spread public information about monkeypox.

Steve Taylor, board member at EuroPride, said the virus – which has mainly focused on the men who have sex with the male community – should not be used as an excuse to shut down LGBTQ+ events.

Around 750 Pride events are due to take place across Europe this summer and organizers say there will be clear messages about how people can protect themselves.

The senior emergency officer at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Dr. Catherine Smallwood, was asked why most cases were found in men who had sex with men.

She explained that “all outbreaks start somewhere.”

“This virus does not select one person against another, it spreads opportunistically.

“And how it’s going to spread will really be determined by the opportunities it has.

“It is also a disease that has an incubation period of 21 days. We have been in this outbreak for a little over a month and understand this outbreak so it is too early to say how it will spread to the general population,” she added.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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