73 new cases of the monkeypox virus have now been confirmed in the UK, bringing the total to 302.
Twenty-six other countries have also had cases, including many in Europe.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on through very close contact, which would typically, obviously, occur during sex.
The UK Health Security Agency revealed today (June 6) that 73 more cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in England, with two more confirmed in both Scotland and Wales, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 302.
There are currently 287 confirmed cases in England, 10 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 3 in Wales.
HSA reiterated that, while queer men remain disproportionately affected, anyone can get monkeypox, particularly if you have had close contact, including sexual contact, with an individual with symptoms.
The risk to the general population is low with monkeypox and the symptoms usually clear up within a few weeks, but the virus can be more severe in those who are particularly vulnerable.
Globally, World Health Organisation (WHO) says there have been 780 cases in 27 countries where virus not normally found
Spain, Portugal, France, Canada, Australia and Mexico are just some of the countries to have been affected.
Health officials say there have now been 25 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the United States, with potential new ones found in Washington DC and San Francisco, reports Independent.
As of Friday (3 June), the CDC reported at least five cases in California, and five more in New York.
Further cases have been reported in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The HSA advice in the UK is to contact NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic if you have a rash with blisters and you’ve been either:
- in close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past 3 weeks
- to West or Central Africa in the past 3 weeks
In May, The United Nations’ Aids agency (UNAIDS) condemned some reporting of the monkeypox virus for being racist and homophobic, warning of adding fuel to unnecessary stigma which undermines the response to a still relatively very small outbreak.
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. Monkeypox, officials say, poses low risk if contracted. Find our more here.