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Four more cases of monkeypox have been confirmed according to a press release from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), bringing the number of diagnosed cases to seven since May 6.
The three cases reported in London and a linked case in England were unrelated to the three cases previously confirmed between May 6 and May 15, UKHSA officials said in the report. The individuals have the mild West African clade of the virus compared to the Central African clade, according to the report. People in need of medical attention were treated in infectious disease units in UK hospitals.
UKHSA officials said monkeypox is a viral infection transmitted by very close contact with someone who has the virus. The virus is commonly associated with travel to West Africa, the report said.
Officials wrote in the statement: “There is no connection to travel to any country where monkeypox is endemic, and exactly where and how they acquired their infections is under urgent investigation, including understood if they have other ties to each other”.
The statement said common contacts have been identified in two of the latest four cases. Health officials said the most recent cases were infected in London and all four identified as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, according to the report.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said in the statement: “This is rare and unusual. UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections as evidence suggests there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread close contact.”
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Hopkins also wrote in the report, “We particularly urge gay and bisexual men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.” Hopkins said close contacts of cases are being contacted to provide health information and warned clinicians to be alert to people who present with rashes without a clear alternative diagnosis.
UKHS officials have said the risk to the UK population is low and they are working closely with health and international partners to determine if a similar rise in cases has been reported in other countries. .
According to British health officials, the symptoms of monkeypox are as follows:
- Fever, chills
- Muscle pain, back pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash may develop on the face and then spread to other areas, including the genitals
British health officials said the rash goes through different stages and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before becoming a scab that later falls off.
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UKHSA officials said in the statement that most people recover within weeks, although in some cases serious illness can occur.
The last case in the United States was nearly a year ago, according to Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, MD, MACP, FIDSA, FSHEA, who is the chief infectious and hospital disease epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Hospital. Nassau in New York and spoke to Fox News about this outbreak in the UK.
Glatt, who is also a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, also explained to Fox News that “monkey pox is related to smallpox, but is much less virulent and much less contagious. The virus is usually transmitted through contact with the body of an infected animal, fluids or a bite Person-to-person transmission is unlikely but can occur via large respiratory droplets as well as prolonged close exposure.
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Glatt told Fox News the incubation period is usually 1 to 2 weeks, with fever, rash and chills being the most common symptoms.
Glatt added: “At this time there is no concern unless you have been in close contact with someone with monkeypox or have been in an area where monkeypox has been reported. “