Monkeypox: Expert outlines ‘different’ behaviour in outbreak
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The NHS describes monkeypox as “a rare infection that’s mainly spread by wild animals in parts of west or central Africa”.
In common with COVID-19, there is more than one type of monkeypox, one variant from west Africa and one from central Africa.
Cases reported in the UK are of the west African variant of monkeypox.
So far, around 20 cases have been reported as the Government tracks down each patient to stop it from spreading.
Despite the unnerving nature of a new disease spreading, it is important to note two points.
Firstly, this is not another COVID-19, monkeypox does not spread easily and the risk of catching it is low.
Secondly, this is not the first time the UK has had to deal with monkeypox, the first time was in 2018.
As a result, the country is prepared to deal with any cases of the virus and has existing knowledge on how to treat it and prevent transmission.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean people should remain wary of it.
Doctors have warned the virus could have a “massive impact” on access to sexual health services.
The virus is spread when someone is in close contact with another, including through sex.
As a result, staff at sexual health clinics have had to self-isolate and clinics in London have stopped patients walking in together as most of the country’s cases are in the capital.
President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Dr Claire Dewsnap said monkeypox was making a bad situation in sexual health clinics worse: “It is already stretching the workforce and will have a massive impact if staff have to isolate if they are in close contact with someone’s who’s infected.
“I am concerned about the potential impact on access to sexual health generally.”
As well as close contact with the skin of another, monkeypox can also be spread through touching clothing, towels, or bedding of someone with the monkeypox rash.
Since this occurs in an around intimate relations, people are encouraged to exercise caution and check for any rashes or lumps resembling those caused by monkeypox.
Symptoms of monkeypox to look out far include:
• A high temperature
• A headache
• Muscle aches
• Swollen glands
These normally appear five to 21 days after the infection.
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