CASES of monkeypox have doubled in the UK as a further 11 infections have been confirmed.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the latest infected Britons live in London and the South East.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid today announced that he had updated the G7 on the situation in the UK.
In a tweet this afternoon, he said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had identified a further 11 cases.
This brings the total to 20 cases in the UK.
He added: “Most cases are mild, and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox.”
It’s believed that the Government has accepted that even more cases will be found over the coming days.
It’s thought that two new infections, which were detected yesterday, were picked up in the UK.
Neither of the patients had travel links to countries where the virus is at an endemic stage.
While monkeypox is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed on between direct contact from sex.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said medics are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns.
She added that the spread in countries across Europe confirms concerns that there could be a spread in communities.
As a result of the spread, experts have urged people to be aware of the signs and ministers have also ordered more stock of vaccines which are currently being offered to people.
While experts have said the overall risk remains low, Javid has ordered the UKHSA to take a belt and braces approach and secure a further 20,000 doses.
The Health Secretary had previously secured 5,000 vials of the monkeypox jab last year to ensure Britain was prepared.
A Whitehall source said: “Sajid directed procurement of the relevant vaccine months ago as a precautionary measure but we are making sure we are further ahead of the curve by taking decisive action to secure even more of the vaccine.
“We aren’t too worried at this point but will be keeping a very close eye on the situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
What are the signs of monkeypox you need to know
People infected with monkeypox will usually start to experience symptoms five to 21 days after initial infection.
The NHS says the first symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a headache
- muscle aches
- swollen glands
- shivering (chills)
They added that a rash usually appears one to five days after the symptoms.
Medics have urged people to be on the look out for signs, which can include fever, headaches, swellings, aches, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals.
Professor Kevin Fenton London’s Public Health Director said: “At this point, we’re asking everybody to be aware of the signs and symptoms which include rashes around the mouth, as well as around the genital area.
“We’re especially asking gay and bisexual men, among whom we’ve been seeing an increasing proportion of cases, to be on the lookout for monkeypox.”
Monkeypox is usually associated with travel to West Africa.
But there are currently outbreaks in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States.
The illness is usually mild and most people recover in two to four weeks.
The NHS says that you will usually need to stay in a specialised hospital so the infection doesn’t spread and your symptoms can be treated.
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