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Moneypox: New guidelines released as close contacts self-isolate for 3 weeks UK News

New guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said contacts of monkeypox cases at high risk of having caught the infection should self-isolate for 21 days.

UKHSA guidelines now recommend that people who have had “unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact” self-isolate for three weeks.

Self-isolation will not include any travel, provide details for contact tracing, and avoid direct contact with immunocompromised people, pregnant women, and children under 12.

Those considered to be at high risk of having caught monkeypox may have had household contact, sexual contact, or changed bedding of an infected person without wearing proper PPE.

The UKHSA also says they are being offered a smallpox vaccine.

The new guidance comes after UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser Dr Susan Hopkins warned that monkeypox is spread through community transmission and we should expect more cases every day.

The agency has so far confirmed 20 cases in the UK.

Updated figures for the weekend will be given today, Monday 23 May.

The disease, first discovered in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the UKHSA, the following symptoms could be an indication of monkeypox:

Initially, symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

A rash may also develop, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages – it may look like chickenpox or syphilis, before eventually forming a scab that later falls off.

The UKHSA insisted that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population remains low.

Dr Hopkins warned that doctors are seeing community transmission, with cases mostly identified in people who identify as gay or bisexual or men who have sex with men.

Speaking to BBC One’s Sunday Morning, Dr Hopkins said: ‘We’ll be posting updated figures tomorrow – figures for the weekend.

“We are detecting more cases every day and I would like to thank all those people who come for testing at sexual health clinics, GPs and emergency services.”

When asked if there was community transmission in the UK, she replied: “Absolutely, we are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which we have seen previously in this country.

“Community transmission is largely centered in urban areas and we see it primarily among individuals who identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.”

When asked why it is found in this demographic, she replied, “It is because of the frequent close contact they may have.

“We recommend anyone who regularly changes sexual partners or is in close contact with people they don’t know to come forward if they develop a rash.”

When asked if people will need to be vaccinated, she replied: “There is no direct monkeypox vaccine, but we use a form of smallpox vaccine – a third grade smallpox vaccine. generation that is safe for people who come into contact with cases.

“So we don’t use it in the general population.

“We use it in people who we think are at high risk of developing symptoms, and we use it early, especially within four or five days of developing symptoms.

“For contacts, (it) reduces your risk of developing disease, which is how we are focusing our vaccination efforts at this stage.”

It comes as US President Joe Biden said recent cases of monkeypox that have been identified in Europe and the US are something “to be concerning”.

In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added, “It’s a concern in that if it were to spread it would have consequences.”

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This notice was published: 2022-05-23 05:40:27

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