Myth busting monkeypox – Liverpool Express

With more cases of monkey pox being detected in the north west, public health officials have issued a reminder of the symptoms.

What we know so far…

Monkeypox is a viral infection, usually associated with travel to West Africa where it is endemic. It’s usually mild and  most people recover within a few weeks. This is the first time we have had an outbreak in the UK which has not been linked to travel. No deaths have been recorded outside Africa to date.

Monkeypox can affect anyone. The virus does not easily spread between people, but it is spread by very close contact, including coughs or sneezes, kissing, sex or by sharing things like clothing, bedding and towels.

The risk to the UK population remains low, but people should be alert to any new rashes or lesions on any part of their body – especially if they have had a new sexual partner. Most cases to date have been among men who are gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM), but everyone should be aware of what to watch out for.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of monkeypox begin 5-21 days after exposure to an infected person and include:

  • Recent unexpected/unusual spots, ulcers or blisters anywhere on your body
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Swollen glands

Worried you could be infected?

Call Liverpool’s Sexual Health Service, Axess on 0300 323 1300 if you have a rash with blisters and have been:

  • In close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past 3 weeks or
  • Have travelled to West or Central Africa in the past 3 weeks

Call and discuss your symptoms before attending Axess and avoid close contact with other people until you’ve been told what to do.

If you are not able to contact Axess, contact NHS 111 – your call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Close contacts of confirmed cases are being advised to isolate at home for up to 21 days.

What about the vaccine?

A smallpox vaccine has been shown to help protect against monkeypox. The local NHS will contact people most at risk to offer the vaccine.

For more info visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/monkeypox/

Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, Cllr Frazer Lake said “The monkeypox outbreak in the UK continues to grow, with over a thousand cases now confirmed nationwide. Cases in the northwest are growing too and we expect to see a rise in the coming days and weeks.

People should remain aware of the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, and if they are worried they should come forward for testing and support – they will be prioritised and treated confidentially.

Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Professor Matthew Ashton said  “Anyone can get monkeypox, and the same advice applies to everyone.

If you have a rash with blisters and you have been in close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox in the past 3 weeks, call your sexual health service or NHS 111.”

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