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Update from Director of Public Health on Monkeypox

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Jun 1 2022

You may have heard about Monkeypox in the news recently. But what is it, what are the symptoms and how can you access help and information?

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there is a growing number of cases in the UK.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, passed on by very close contact with someone with Monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.

The virus can be passed on if there is close contact between people and the risk to the UK population is low. Monkeypox can affect anyone, and it can be passed on through close physical contact like kissing, skin-to-skin, sex or sharing things like clothing, bedding and towels. However, recent cases have been detected in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. We advise this group in particular to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

Signs and symptoms

  • Recent unexpected/unusual spots, ulcers or blisters anywhere on your body
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Swollen glands

Call to action

Call NHS 111 or contact a sexual health clinic if:

You have a rash with blisters and either:

  • you've been in close contact with someone who has or might have Monkeypox (even if they've not been tested yet) in the past 3 weeks
  • you've been to west or central Africa in the past 3 weeks
  • you're a man who has sex with men
  • Tell the person you speak to if you've had close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox, or if you've recently travelled to central or west Africa.
  • Do not go to a sexual health clinic without contacting them first. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people until you've been told what to do.

Find a sexual health clinic

All updates from UKSA will be published via the rolling news story, where you’ll also find the latest case numbers- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/monkeypox-cases-confirmed-in-england-latest-updates

It is useful to add that the UK Health security agency (the new name for Public Health England) is reporting high case numbers of children with chickenpox in schools

Please be vigilant for cases of chickenpox, resources - Health Protection In Education and Childcare Settings here.

If you have any health protection queries pls contact the North West London health protection unit

UKHSA North West London Health Protection Team

61 Colindale Avenue,
London,
NW9 5EQ

phe.nwl@nhs.net

Phone: 020 3326 1658

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