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UK: Local transmission of monkeypox is confirmed

A HEALTH official said on Sunday that Britain is seeing daily infections of the rare monkeypox virus that are unrelated to travel to West Africa, where the disease is endemic.

After registering 20 incidents on Friday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) stated additional numbers would be revealed on Monday.

Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s top medical adviser, answered “certainly” when asked if community transmission was now the norm in the UK.

“We are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country,” she told BBC television.

“We are detecting more cases on a daily basis.”

Hopkins declined to confirm allegations that one person was in intensive care, but said the outbreak was primarily affecting gay and bisexual men in metropolitan areas.

“The risk of the general population remains extremely low at the moment, and I think people need to be alert to it,” she said, adding that for most adults, symptoms would be “relatively mild”.

On May 7, the first case in the United Kingdom was reported in a patient who had recently traveled to Nigeria. In Europe and North America, the disease is also spreading.

Monkeypox is transmitted through contact with a contaminated person’s skin lesions and droplets, as well as shared things like beds and towels.

Fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, tiredness, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face are among the symptoms. After two to four weeks, they normally go away.

There is no specific therapy for monkeypox, however smallpox vaccine has been shown to be 85 percent effective in preventing it.

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