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UK monkeypox cases more than double to 20 as virus spread

10:16 21 May 2022 Author :  

The number of monkeypox cases in the UK more than doubled on Friday, the British health secretary confirmed.

Sajid Javid said the UK Health Service Agency confirmed 11 new cases of monkeypox in Britain.

This brings the total number of cases in the UK to 20.

"This morning I updated G7 health ministers on what we know so far. Most cases are mild, and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox," Javid said.

The disease is usually linked to travel in parts of Central and West Africa, raising concerns that it has started to spread via community transmission within the UK.

Monkeypox is similar to smallpox. The UK Health Service Agency said the risk to Britain is low as the virus does not spread easily, most people recover from the mild illness after a few weeks, and its similarity to smallpox means it can be treated with the smallpox vaccine which is at least 85% effective in preventing the illness.

Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser of the UK Health Service Agency, said: "We expect this increase to continue in the coming days and for more cases to be identified in the wider community. Alongside this, we are receiving reports of further cases being identified in other countries globally.”

Monkeypox cases have also been reported recently in the US, Europe, and Australia./aa

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