10 Facts About The Monkeypox Virus

monkeypox virusMonkeypox is a rare disease which has hit the headlines due to an outbreak in the UK centred in London.

Similar to smallpox, the disease causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, and a rash/spots that can take weeks to clear.

Caused by the monkeypox virus, it’s a zoonotic disease, which means that it has jumped from a non-human animal to humans. Monkeypox is mostly found in areas of Africa but has been seen in other areas of the world and there are growing concerns about the increasing number of cases in the UK.

From 2018-21, the UK saw just 7 cases of monkeypox of which 4 were brought in from overseas and the other 3  were connected either as household contacts (2) or as a health care worker who was caring for an imported case. There was no documented community transmission in previous outbreaks.

However, 2022 has seen an outbreak of monkeypox in the UK with 1,735 cases confirmed up to 11th July of which 75% were resident in London.

99.4% of the cases were male, only 10 cases have been confirmed in female patients. The  majority of cases are among gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Latest estimates from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggest that case numbers are doubling every 15 days.

10 Facts About Monkeypox

  1. Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal (e.g. lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets), or with material contaminated with the virus (e.g. bedding, towels)
  2. The incubation period monkeypox is usually between 6 to 13 days from from infection to onset of symptoms), but can range from 5 to 21 days
  3. Monkeypox typically starts with fever, headache, swollen lymph notes, aches and lack of energy. Skin rashes usually appear 1-3 days after fever commences
  4. The monkeypox rash tends to be more concentrated on the face (95% of cases) and extremities (hands and feet affected in 75% of cases). Lesions are initially flat, developing into raised papules and pustules which eventually dry up and fall off. There can be any number of lesions from just one to several thousand
  5. Monkeypox usually lasts 2-4 weeks
  6. Severe cases can occur and the disease may lead to other complications. In the latest UK outbreak, around 10% of cases have been hospitalised
  7. Monkeypox is fatal in around 3–6% of cases. There have been no reported deaths in the current UK outbreak
  8. While the clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox (declared eradicated worldwide in 1980), monkeypox is less contagious and causes less severe symptoms
  9. The UKHSA is set to broaden eligibility for vaccination to include some gay and bisexual men deemed to be at higher risk even if they were not a confirmed close contact of a case. 30,000 doses have been procured but rollout plans are yet to be confirmed
  10. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox

Calls for Action

Leading organisations are calling on the government, the UKHSA and NHS England to take action to stop the spread of the disease.

Jim McManus, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, commented:

“We must eliminate this outbreak. If it becomes endemic in any part of our population because it will cost hundreds of times more in pain, misery, harm and avoidable cost than eliminating it.”

Richard Angell, campaigns director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:

“There is a clear choice in front of us: urgently do what is needed to tackle the spread of monkeypox or continue the lacklustre response to date which will mean the virus becomes endemic in the UK with more and more people impacted. More vaccines are vital to this.

“Monkeypox is overwhelming our world class sexual health services. Healthcare staff are doing a brilliant job on the frontline of the country’s monkeypox response – but they’re at breaking point, having to make painful choice between treating monkeypox and issuing PrEP or long-acting contraception and desperately in need of additional funding to urgently turn the tide.”

Private Sexual Health Clinics and GPs in London

For those looking for a private, local and fast service, The Smart Clinics offers a private and confidential STI screening service at their sexual health clinics in London with no waiting lists. Note – Monkeypox testing is not available at The Smart Clinics. Please attend a local STI clinic if you need a test.

in addition, The Smart Clinics offers high quality Private GP healthcare in a choice of 4 London locations. The most popular way to access this is through the company’s medical membership scheme, but ad hoc appointments can also be arranged. It is easy to get an appointment at a time that suits you.

The Smart Clinics

Private Family Healthcare London

The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families. Vital health services include private GPs, travel clinic, sexual health, skin treatments, psychology, physiotherapy and much more. There are also a range of children’s services available, including immunisation and health visitors. The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations.

For more information contact us on info@thesmartclinics.co.uk or call  020 7052 0070.


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