Monkeypox is a zoonotic infection, caused by the monkeypox virus, that occurs mostly in West and Central Africa. Previous cases in the UK had been either imported from countries where monkeypox is endemic or contacts with documented epidemiological links to imported cases.
The unprecedented global outbreak of monkeypox is deepening throughout the world, raising concerns among scientists and physicians internationally that another pandemic is now unfolding alongside the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 1, a record 781 new cases were identified worldwide, more than half of which were in Spain, bringing the seven-day rolling average to 402 cases per day, a 10-fold increase since May.
Over the past four weeks, the number of infections worldwide has risen more than sixfold to 6,229 total cases, with 6,178 confirmed and 51 suspected infections. There are now 459 official infections in the US, an almost 20-fold increase over the past four weeks.
A recent study published in the peer reviewed journal: Lancet has shown that many infected with the new highly mutated strain of monkeypox exhibit symptoms that are very different from infections involving the two earlier strains that are endemic in the African continent.
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Autochthonous community monkeypox virus transmission is currently observed among MSM in the UK.
We found a high proportion of concomitant STIs and frequent anogenital symptoms, suggesting transmissibility through local inoculation during close skin-to-skin or mucosal contact, during sexual activity.
Additional resources are required to support sexual health and other specialist services in managing this condition. A review of the case definition and better understanding of viral transmission routes are needed to shape infection control policies, education and prevention strategies, and contact tracing.
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What You Should Do
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. People who may be at higher risk might include but are not limited to those who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
- Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
Visual Examples of Monkeypox Rash