Monkeypox status has been updated, which means stricter rules when people catch it

A vial labeled

The virus has been labeled a ‘notifiable disease’ (Image: Reuters)

Doctors must report any suspected case of monkeypox under new rules, it was announced today.

It is now a ‘notifiable’ disease, meaning healthcare professionals have an obligation to tell their local council or local health protection team.

Laboratories must also notify the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) if monkeypox virus is identified in a laboratory sample.

Wendi Shepherd, Director of Monkeypox Incidents at the UKHSA, said: “Prompt diagnosis and reporting is key to interrupting transmission and stopping the further spread of monkeypox.

“This new legislation will help us and our healthcare partners quickly identify, treat and control the disease.

“It also assists us in the rapid collection and analysis of data, allowing us to identify potential outbreaks of the disease and quickly trace close contacts, while offering vaccinations where necessary to limit onward transmission.”

New UKHSA guidance also says all NHS diagnosis and treatment for monkeypox should be free, encouraging people to come forward if they have symptoms, including for people overseas who would normally pay fees.

More than 300 cases of the disease have now been detected in the UK since the outbreak began last month.

The UKHSA warned that “anyone can get monkeypox, particularly if you have had close contact, including sexual contact, with a person with symptoms”.

They said that so far, people who have sex with men have been disproportionately affected.

Anyone who has multiple sex partners or “has close contact with people they don’t know” has been urged to watch out for monkeypox.

This is breaking news, more coming soon… Check back soon for more updates.

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Justin Scacco

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