INFECTIONS of monkeypox are spreading in the UK – with officials set to announce that cases have doubled.
In order to stop infections experts have urged people to know the signs of monkey poxCredit: Getty
Medics are today expected to announce that infections have doubled in the last week, after it was revealed the total had risen to nine cases, with The Times reporting that a further 11 are to be revealed.
In order to stop the spread of the illness, medics have urged people to be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.
An update shared by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned of two key places where the signs of infection could arise.
Professor Kevin Fenton London’s Public Health Director said: “At this point, we’re asking everybody to be aware of the signs and symptoms which include rashes around the mouth, as well as around the genital area.
“We’re especially asking gay and bisexual men, among whom we’ve been seeing an increasing proportion of cases, to be on the lookout for monkeypox.”
Other key symptoms of the illness include fever, headaches, swellings, aches, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals.
The bug is usually spread through close contact – such as touching used clothing or bedding, coughs and sneezes, or having sex with an infected individual.
With infections now spreading in the community, officials are braced for a significant surge in numbers.
Health bosses however, insist the overall risk to the public remains low.
But Sajid Javid has ordered the UK Health Security Agency to take a belt and braces approach and secure a further 20,000 doses.
It comes as health chiefs have started to vaccinate close contacts of known cases – including medics and relatives.
The Health Secretary had previously secured 5,000 doses of the monkeypox jab last year to ensure Britain was prepared.
A Whitehall source said: “Sajid directed procurement of the relevant vaccine months ago as a precautionary measure but we are making sure we are further ahead of the curve by taking decisive action to secure even more of the vaccine.
“We aren’t too worried at this point but will be keeping a very close eye on the situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Monkeypox is usually associated with travel to West Africa.
But there are currently outbreaks in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States, triggering alarm among public health experts.
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