No monkeypox cases identified in Wales say public health officials
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected 11 additional cases of monkeypox in England.
The latest cases bring the total number of monkeypox cases confirmed since 6 May to 20.
The new cases come on top of the nine already identified in the country.
There are currently no cases of monkeypox identified in Wales, public health in Wales have said.
Public Health Wales said it is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to respond to UK cases of monkeypox.
Richard Firth, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said:
“We are working closely with our UK partners to monitor and respond to cases of monkeypox in the UK. Monkeypox is a rare disease that has been reported mainly in central and West African countries. No cases have so far been identified in Wales.”
“Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”
The first case in the current outbreak was confirmed on May 6.
It is not the first time monkeypox has been reported in the UK.
Three cases were also reported in 2021, two of them in North Wales.
The UK Health Security Agency said a notable proportion of early cases detected have been in gay and bisexual men, it is urging this community in particular to be alert.
The infection can be passed on through close contact or contact with clothing or linens used by a person who has monkeypox.
Unlike COVID, monkeypox does not spread easily from human to human and the risk to the UK population remains low.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said:
“We anticipated that further cases would be detected through our active case finding with NHS services and heightened vigilance among healthcare professionals.
We expect this increase to continue in the coming days and for more cases to be identified in the wider community. Alongside this we are receiving reports of further cases being identified in other countries globally.”
“We continue to rapidly investigate the source of these infections and raise awareness among healthcare professionals. We are contacting any identified close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice.”
“Because the virus spreads through close contact, we are urging everyone to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact NHS 111 or a sexual health service if they have any concerns.”
“Please contact clinics ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you have been seen by a clinician.”
“A notable proportion of recent cases in the UK and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men so we are particularly encouraging them to be alert to the symptoms and seek help if concerned.”
“Clinicians should be alert to any individual presenting with unusual rashes without a clear alternative diagnosis and should contact specialist services for advice.”
Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.
The rash changes and goes through different stages – it can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab which later falls off.
Monkeypox, as the name suggests, was first found in laboratory monkeys in the late 1950s.
However, scientists aren’t sure if monkeys are the main animal reservoirs (carriers of the virus), so the name may be a bit of a misnomer.
The latest thinking is that the main reservoir is probably smaller animals, such as rodents.
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