The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 95 countries a global emergency.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, and cases are usually found in West and Central Africa, although the virus does not often spread elsewhere.

This is why outbreaks have been reported in many countries, including the UK and elsewhere Europecaused alarm among health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe disease in some cases.

What are the symptoms?

Most patients with monkeypox experience only fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue, but some may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that may spread to other parts of the body.

The rash may look like chicken pox or syphilis, scabs may form, which then fall off.

Most people recover within a few weeks.

The incubation period for monkeypox is usually six to 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days.

Stages of monkeypox (UKHSA/PA)

(PA Media)

How is monkeypox spread?

The most likely way to spread monkeypox is through close physical contact, touching clothing, bedding, or towels shared by a person who has a monkeypox rash, or touching the blisters or scabs on the skin of monkeypox.

There is less risk of transmission of the virus through coughing and sneezing, and because prolonged personal contact is required, this is not one of the main routes of transmission of the monkeypox virus.

Having sex is thought to put people at greater risk of contracting the disease because, although it is not known to be sexually transmitted, close physical contact means that infection is more likely.

Most of the cases seen so far have been in gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

A further 11 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UK, bringing the total to 20 (Alamy/Pennsylvania)

What is the level of risk in the UK?

The type of monkeypox caused by the outbreak is a West African strain that is said to be fatal in only one percent of cases.

The UKHSA said the risk to the UK remains the same following the WHO’s declaration of a global emergency.

When did monkeypox arrive in the UK?

The first case related to the current outbreak was recorded in England May 7, 2022

Scotland recorded its first case on May 23, while Wales and Northern Ireland confirmed cases on May 26.

How many cases are there in the UK now?

As of 22 August, there are 3,207 confirmed and 133 highly probable cases of monkeypox in the UK, or 3,340 in total. according to the UK Health Agency (UKHSA).

Of these, 3,191 are in England, with a large proportion of cases believed to be in London.

What are the public health guidelines for monkeypox?

UKHSA guidance for close contacts of a confirmed case of monkeypox has been updated to advise that close contacts do not need to be isolated at home unless they are symptomatic.

Close contacts are advised to call NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic if they develop fever or symptoms of monkeypox and to avoid skin-to-skin contact with other people, avoid international travel if possible and tell medical or dental staff that they got infected. close contact before attending meetings.

Because it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear after exposure to monkeypox, people are advised to be alert for symptoms after personal or sexual contact with a new person.

Why did the WHO declare a global emergency?

As of August 23, there have been more than 41,664 cases from approximately 96 countries and territories and 12 deaths. according to the latest WHO data.

General director of the body Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that the committee was unable to reach a consensus on whether the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern.

But he said it was an outbreak “that has spread rapidly around the world through new modes of transmission about which we know too little and that meets the criteria of the International Health Regulations” and so he decided it should be declared a global emergency.

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