Health officials need to announce more to the UK smallpox monkeys cases on Monday as efforts to contain the first multinational outbreak of the virus, which led to cases in at least 14 countries, intensified.
An unusual outbreak of the rare disease has sparked a wave of contact tracking and testing with the closest contacts of confirmed cases – such as partners and people in the same family – offered a vaccine and told to isolate themselves at home for up to 21 days.
Under the UK Health According to the Security Agency, the same high-risk contact is recommended to be avoided by immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children under 12 years of age, as they are more vulnerable to serious infections.
While some patients with smallpox have been admitted to the hospital, many confirmed cases that do not require specialized care are ordered to isolate at home until local health teams make sure they are no longer contagious. “The vast majority of reported cases are in isolation at home and do not require hospitalization,” said Dr Claire Duisnep, president of the British Sexual Health Association and HIV.
Smallpox does not spread easily, and most people who become infected develop only mild symptoms, including fever, rash, and blisters that can go away without treatment. But the virus can cause more serious diseases in people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and young children.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Agency, said the following cases discovered over the weekend would be confirmed on Monday. Since the first was announced in the UK on May 7 – a man who arrived in London from Nigeria – The agency confirmed 19 more cases, most of them young men who have sex with men.
The outbreak is unusual because, although the UK has previously had sporadic cases of monkeypox – seven from 2018 to 2021 – all previous cases have been related to travel from Nigeria. Most recent cases in the UK and beyond have no known links to parts of the west or center Africa where the virus is endemic.
Worldwide, more than 180 confirmed or suspected cases are being investigated in at least 14 countries. More than half are in Spain and Portugal. Genetic analysis of the three smallpox virus monkeys from the outbreak found that it is very similar to the virus that spread from Nigeria in 2018 and 2019. The same research shows that the Belgian contracted the virus during a recent trip to Portugal.
The picture of the outbreak suggests that the virus is spreading mainly through sexual networks. The infection can be transmitted by close contact with body fluids, infected ulcers and contaminated materials such as towels and bedding. Events with the super-spread may have increased the outbreak since its arrival Europe.
“I think it’s possible that some of these outbreaks will be due to extreme events,” said Dr. Michael Head, senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton. “For example, the Spanish health authorities consider the sauna as a one-time exposure site that has led to many secondary cases. It is reported that mild manifestations of multiple cases may also be a factor because people will become more mobile and are likely to communicate. However, we still need to better understand the dynamics of the transfer. “
Hopkins said on BBC One’s Sunday Morning show that in the UK the public broadcast was “largely concentrated in urban areas and we see it predominantly in individuals who identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. ” Asked why the cases were mostly in this group, she said: “It’s because of the frequent close contacts they may have.
“We are finding more and more cases every day, and I would like to thank all those people who come for testing at sexual health clinics, general practitioners and emergency departments. We find cases that do not have identified contact with a person from West Africa that we have seen before in this country.
“We would encourage anyone who has regular sexual partners or in close contact with people they don’t know to speak up if they develop a rash.”
Dyusnap said sexual health clinics are already under a lot of pressure due to reductions and lack of support in recent years, while sexual health clinics have “an alarming number of vacant urogenital medicine positions.”