The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected 4 additional cases of monkeypox, 3 in London and one linked case in the northeast of England. The 4 new cases do not have known connections with the previous confirmed cases announced on May 14 and the case announced on May 7.
Investigations are underway to establish links between the latest 4 cases, who all appear to have been infected in London. All 4 of these cases self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (MSM). Currently, common contacts have been identified for 2 of the 4 latest cases.
There is no link to travel to a country where monkeypox is endemic, and exactly where and how they acquired their infections remains under urgent investigation, including whether they have further links to each other.
Those patients needing medical care are all in specialist infectious disease units at the Royal Free Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne and Guys’ and St Thomas’. The individuals have the West African clade of the virus, which is mild compared to the Central African clade.
These latest cases mean that there are currently 7 confirmed monkeypox cases in the UK, diagnosed between May 6 and 15.
Due to the recent increase in cases and uncertainties around where some of these individuals acquired their infection, we are working closely with NHS partners to identify if there may have been more cases in recent weeks, as well as international partners to understand if similar rises have been seen in other countries.
Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.
The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population is low. However, the most recent cases are in gay, bisexual and other MSM communities, and as the virus spreads through close contact, we are advising these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.
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, and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
Two individuals have been diagnosed with monkeypox in London, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed.
The cases live together in the same household. They are not linked to the previous confirmed case announced on 7 May. Where and how they acquired their infection remains under investigation.