UK confirms local transmission of monkeypox virus

An official at the British Health Security Agency said, on Sunday, that the United Kingdom is witnessing daily cases of monkeypox, but it is not linked to any travel to West Africa, where the disease is spreading.

“We are discovering cases that have no specific contact with someone from West Africa, which we have seen previously in this country,” said Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor for the UK’s Health Security Agency.

“We are discovering more cases on a daily basis,” he added during an interview with the BBC.

The UK’s Occupational Health and Safety Services Authority (UKHSA) said the new figures would be released on Monday, having recorded 20 cases on Friday.

Hopkins declined to confirm reports of one person in intensive care, but said the outbreak was concentrated in urban areas among gay and bisexual men.

“The risk to the general public is still very low at the moment, and I think people need to be vigilant,” he said, adding that for most adults, symptoms would be “relatively mild.”

The UK sounded the alarm on May 7, with someone who had recently traveled to Nigeria. Other countries in Europe and the United States have reported cases.

Monkeypox can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets from an infected person, as well as through shared objects such as bedding and towels.

Its symptoms are similar, to a lesser degree, to those observed in the past in people with smallpox: fever, headache, muscle and back pain during the first five days.

Rashes appear (on the face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet), lesions, blisters, and finally scabs.

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According to the World Health Organization, symptoms last between 14 and 21 days.

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