“We are discovering more cases every day,” said the UK Health Security Agency’s medical officer, announcing a new report on Monday.
The UK is recording new cases of monkeypox every day, an official with the UK Health Security Agency said on Sunday, a matter the government says it takes “very seriously”. “We are discovering more cases every day,” UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief medical officer Susan Hopkins told the BBC.
Twenty patients were identified last week and a new report “with the numbers for the weekend” will be released on Monday, said Susan Hopkins.
The risk to the population is “extremely low”
Several European countries have identified cases of monkeypox that could be accelerating in Europe, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday. “In the cases we’ve seen in the UK so far, the vast majority of people recover on their own,” said Susan Hopkins.
She described monkeypox as “a new infectious disease spreading in our community” with “cases having no identified contact with an individual from West Africa” where the disease was previously present. Transmission is “seen primarily in individuals who identify as homosexual or bisexual, or in men who have sex with men,” she said, noting that transmission occurs through “frequent contact, no matter how close, can be explained”.
She called for alertness to even the slightest symptom, but stressed that the risk to the population as a whole was “extremely low”.
While there is no monkeypox vaccine that is self-healing, a smallpox vaccine can be used to protect contact cases, explained Dr. Hopkins. Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the same TV channel that the government was taking the matter “very, very seriously” and that Britain had started buying doses of the smallpox vaccine.