Scotland reports 1st monkeypox case as UK total reaches 71


LONDON, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Public Health Scotland confirmed on Monday it had identified one monkeypox case, taking the total number of infections identified in the United Kingdom (UK) to 71, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Tuesday.

In England, the agency has detected 14 additional cases, bringing the total to 70. There are currently no cases of monkeypox identified in Wales or Northern Ireland.

"Despite further cases being detected, the risk to the UK population remains low," the UKHSA noted. "A notable proportion of the cases identified to date have been among people who are gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, so we are asking these groups in particular to be aware of the symptoms."

The UKHSA said that its health protection teams are "contacting people considered to be high-risk contacts of confirmed cases and are advising those who have been risk assessed and remain well to isolate at home for up to 21 days."

It has also "purchased supplies of a safe smallpox vaccine, and this is being offered to identified close contacts of someone diagnosed with monkeypox to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and severe illness."

According to the agency, "the virus does not usually spread easily between people, but it can be passed on through close person-to-person contact or contact with items used by a person who has monkeypox, such as clothes, bedding or utensils.

"Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks," it said.

In England, the UKHSA has confirmed one monkeypox case. "The patient has a recent travel history from Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the infection before traveling to the UK."

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genitals, according to the agency.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in the tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. In May 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox were identified in several non-endemic countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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