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Monkeypox: Dozens of new cases discovered in England

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a further 71 cases of monkeypox have been detected in England. The latest cases, as of May 29, bring the total number confirmed in England since May 7 to 172.

There are four confirmed cases in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales, bringing the UK total to 179. The figures come after the UKHSA, along with authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have issued joint guidelines to stem the spread of the disease.

The new advice urges people with monkeypox to avoid close contact with others until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off. People who have been in contact with someone with the disease must also undergo a risk assessment and may be asked to self-isolate for 21 days if necessary.

The guidelines, updated on Monday, say people with suspected or confirmed monkeypox who need to travel for treatment should ensure all lesions are covered by clothing, wear a face covering and avoid public transport. common as far as possible. They should also abstain from sex at the first sign of symptoms and be sure to use condoms for eight weeks after infection.

The disease, first discovered in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus is usually found in West and Central Africa.

Symptoms are usually mild and the disease is spread through close contact with someone who is already infected. Most people recover within a few weeks.

The UKHSA said that while the risk to the UK population remains low, people should be alert to any new rashes or lesions, which appear as spots, ulcers or blisters, on any part of their body. body. While this advice applies to everyone, the agency said the majority of cases identified so far have involved gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men. She therefore asks these people in particular to be aware of the symptoms, especially if they have recently had a new sexual partner.

People are urged to call NHS 111 or a sexual health center immediately if they have a blistering rash and have been in close contact with someone who has or may have monkeypox in the past few months. last three weeks. People with symptoms are also asked to call 111 if they have been to West or Central Africa in the last three weeks or if they are a man who has sex with men.

Dr Ruth Milton, Senior Medical Adviser and Director of Monkeypox Strategic Response at UKHSA, said: “These new monkeypox guidelines set out important steps for healthcare professionals and the public to manage the disease, including understood how to safely isolate themselves at home and reduce the risk to others. The highest risk of transmission is direct contact with someone who has monkeypox.

“The risk to the UK population remains low and anyone experiencing rashes or unusual sores on any part of their body should contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service immediately.”