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Monkeypox cases may have peaked, UK officials say

British health authorities said on Friday that the monkeypox outbreak across the country could be peaking and the rate of growth of the outbreak has slowed.

The UK’s Health Security Agency said in a statement that there were “early signs that the outbreak is plateauing”, with 2,859 cases detected since May. No deaths have been reported. Last month, authorities estimated the outbreak was doubling in size about every two weeks, but the number of new infections has declined in recent weeks.

“While the most recent data suggests that the growth of the epidemic has slowed, we cannot be complacent,” said Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at the Health Security Agency. She said anyone who thought they had monkeypox should avoid meeting friends, social gatherings and avoiding sexual contact.

The disease is thought to be passed between gay and bisexual men, accounting for more than 70% of cases in the UK
PA

The Health Security Agency said its most recent analysis of the outbreak “shows that monkeypox continues to be transmitted primarily through the interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men”. More than 70% of UK cases are in London.

The Health Security Agency said its most recent analysis of the outbreak “shows that monkeypox continues to be transmitted primarily through the interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men”. More than 70% of UK cases are in London.

Although still a rare disease, the NHS is expanding its rollout of the monkeypox vaccine to London as cases of monkeypox continue to rise in the capital.
Getty Images

The World Health Organization said this week that 92% of monkeypox cases beyond Africa were likely infected through sex and its director-general recently called on vulnerable gay and bisexual men to consider downsizing their partners sexual “at the moment”.

To date, more than 26,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in nearly 90 countries, with a 19% increase in the past week.

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In June, British authorities expanded their vaccination strategy, offering vaccines not only to health workers treating monkeypox patients and high-risk contacts of patients, but to some gay or bisexual men and those at high risk of catch the virus, including those who have multiple sex partners or participate in group sex.

The UK Health Building.
The UK Health Security Agency recommends that those who have had direct contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox or a high-risk contact self-isolate for 21 days.
APE

The UK last month downgraded its assessment of the monkeypox outbreak and dropped a recommendation for contacts of monkeypox cases to isolate for three weeks unless they show symptoms. The change was prompted by data showing that only a small number of contacts eventually become ill with monkeypox and a lack of evidence that the disease spreads without close, intimate or sexual contact.

On Thursday, the United States declared its monkeypox outbreak a national emergency, the WHO last month designating it a global emergency.

Monkeypox is spread when people have close physical contact with an infected person’s lesions, clothing, or bedding. Most people recover without needing treatment, but the lesions can be extremely painful and more severe cases can lead to complications including encephalitis and death.

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