Hear advice on Monekypox direct from UK health experts by listening to the Virgin Radio Pride audio links in this article, later or while you read.
The UK’s monkeypox vaccination rollout is likely to be put on hold for several weeks, as parts of the country are about to run out of stock.
So far there has been a total of 3,017 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the UK, with officials noting that the outbreak is beginning to slow.
Today, the BBC reported a leaked internal memo which showed the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) plans to hold back some of the remaining doses for distribution to people already exposed to the virus.
The leak comes as many clinics across the country report stocks have already run out, leaving them unable to take new appointments.
All of the UK’s current supplies of vaccine will have been distributed to providers by the middle of August, with “all available vaccines” expected to have been given to vulnerable groups by the end of the month, meaning there could be a shortfall of up to several weeks, with no supplies across the country.
Following the report, the UKHSA confirmed there are only around 5,000 doses of the jab left, then revealing plans to “expedite delivery” of a further 100,000 doses already procured, which are expected to arrive in the UK in September.
The UKHSA said only 50,000 of the 150,000 vaccines procured had been delivered due to “supply issues”.
The update comes less than two weeks after LGBTQ+ groups from across the political spectrum sent a joint letter (August 4), addressed to UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay, demanding the government increase efforts to combat monkeypox or risk it becoming endemic.
Latest figures released by the UKHSA confirmed that more than 25,000 people have been vaccinated across the UK, also indicating signs of overall transmission slowing.
There are 29 cases a day now confirmed on average (1 – 7 August), compared to 52 cases daily during the last week of June.
However, health services are urging Brits to remain vigilant or risk it going the other way.
Recap: Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, but is sometimes passed on through very close contact, therefore transmission can occur during sex. Anyone can contract or pass on the virus, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Find our more by listening to the audio links in this article.
Meanwhile in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its monkeypox guidance to include dogs as animals that can potentially contract the virus.
The CDC updated its guidance after the first instance of a dog suspected of contracting monkeypox from its owners was recorded in France.
The CDC now recommends that people in the US with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals – including pets, domestic animals and wildlife – to prevent spreading the virus.
“Infected animals can spread Monkeypox virus to people, and it is possible that people who are infected can spread Monkeypox virus to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food”, the update states.
The updated guidelines also makes clear not to “surrender, euthanize, or abandon pets just because of a potential exposure or Monkeypox virus”.
If an individual has tested positive for monkeypox and has not had close contact with their pet, owners are urged to place the pet in the care of friends or family until they have fully recovered.
The 4-year-old Italian greyhound reportedly tested positive for the virus earlier this summer, shortly after its owners first showed symptoms.
The greyhound’s owners tested positive on June 10, visiting a hospital in Paris after presenting with lesions, fever, and headaches.
The men reported that the dog continued to share the same bed, but said they were “careful to prevent their dog from contact with other pets or humans from the onset of their own symptoms”.
Twelve days after couple first showed symptoms, their dog also developed lesions, then testing positive for the same monkeypox strain as the couple.
“To the best of our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and, subsequently, in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus,” researchers wrote in a study published in the Lancet health journal this month.
“Our findings should prompt debate on the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals. We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets,” the statement added.
It is thought to be the first confirmed case of the disease being transmitted from humans to pets, however in countries where monkeypox is endemic, wild animals – including rodents and primates – can carry the virus.
Obviously, this is a great example of exactly why health officials have been keen to stipulate that the virus is not an STI.
truly dumb and bigoted uneducated folk using services like Twitter have taken to implying that the dog simply must have contracted the virus as a result of some act of bestiality the couple were involved in with their pet.
Because we all know how dogs hate to do things like lick their owner or be petted. EYE ROLL FOR DAYS.
France so far has 1,700 confirmed cases of monkeypox.
While in the US, there has been 10,768 monkeypox cases confirmed, across 49 states.
Earlier this month (August 4), the US government declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency following a surge in cases.
The decision to upgrade the virus’ status was made to help speed up the distribution of vaccines, treatments and federal resources, to try and curb the spread of the outbreak and to trigger extra assets, as the US health secretary urged ‘every American to take it seriously’.
Globally, as of August 12, over 80 countries have reported cases of monkeypox, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, with some public health officials warning that the virus could be “here to stay”.
“We just don’t have the kind of public health and health care infrastructure to eliminate this,” said Jay Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response.
“If we can’t eliminate syphilis, which is a disease that is readily treatable with a shot of penicillin, I find it very hard to believe that we’ll be able to control monkeypox.”
Meanwhile, Politico last week shared a damning report, highlighting the “fundamentally broken” global response structure, showing that despite most monkeypox deaths occurring in Africa, the continent has yet to receive any vaccines.
The World Health Organization says there are around 16 million doses, mostly in bulk form, of the only vaccine approved to prevent monkeypox. None of those are being distributed to Africans.
“To date, there are no vaccines that we have received as Africa for monkeypox, though we continue to engage with relevant institutions and our partners across the world to try and get monkeypox vaccines,” Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director general of the Africa CDC, said at a briefing on Thursday (August 11), per Politico.
Rolf Sass Sørensen, head of investor relations at the manufacturer of the vaccine, told the outlet that “the vast majority of [vaccine stock] belongs to the U.S.”.
We’ve written to @BavarianNordic to demand they share the intellectual property rights to the monkeypox vaccine.
As the US hordes millions of doses, the entire content of Africa hasn’t been able to purchase a single jab. This is a serious threat to international public health. pic.twitter.com/UEueLPGtYV
— Global Justice Now (@GlobalJusticeUK) August 15, 2022
Monkeypox has been in Africa for decades. African virologists say this has become a crisis in the West as the world neglected the disease.
Here are some key facts from a Nigerian virologist who has studied monkeypox since the 1970s.
Producer: Anna Kook pic.twitter.com/vCO3ArQPlU
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 8, 2022