Monkeypox warning to anyone who has sex with multiple partners

Composite image of people's feet under the blankets overlaid with the monkeypox virus

There have been 20 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK so far (Image: Getty)

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

The virus, which causes sores and can lead to serious illness, is spreading across the UK and more cases are expected to be confirmed after the weekend.

A senior doctor has said that anyone who develops a rash after being in contact with someone else should get checked out.

dr Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “We would recommend anyone who regularly changes sexual partners or has close contact with people they don’t know to come forward if they develop a rash. “

She said the disease is now spreading from person to person within the UK and is not just found in those who have traveled abroad.

So far there have been 20 confirmed cases in the UK, and nine other countries outside of Central and West Africa have also reported outbreaks.

Belgium was the first country to introduce a mandatory three-week quarantine for those infected to try to stop the spread.

Monkeypox virus symptoms are shown on a patient's hand

Symptoms of the monkeypox virus are shown on a patient’s hand (Image: Getty)

The disease, first identified in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact – including sexual intercourse – and is caused by the monkeypox virus. It can also be spread via droplets.

dr Hopkins said cases have so far been identified predominantly in people who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or in men who have sex with other men.

When asked why it’s found in this demographic, she said, “It’s because of the frequent close contacts they may have.”

Speaking to BBC One’s Morning Show, Dr. Hopkins: “We will publish updated figures tomorrow – figures over the weekend.

“We are discovering more cases every day and I want to thank all of the people who are coming in for testing at sexual health clinics, GPs and the emergency room.”

When asked whether people need to be vaccinated against the infection, she said: “There is no direct vaccine against monkeypox, but we use a type of smallpox vaccine – a third-generation smallpox vaccine that is safe for people who are contactees of cases is.

“So 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 apply it early, specifically within four or five days after the case has developed symptoms.

“For contacts, (this) reduces your risk of contracting disease, so that’s what we’re focusing our vaccination efforts on at this time.”

It comes as US President Joe Biden said the recent cases of monkeypox identified in Europe and the United States are something to worry about.

In his first public comments on the disease, Mr Biden added: “It is worrying that there would be consequences if it spread.”

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Justin Scacco

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