‘Early signs’ of monkeypox outbreak in UK, health agency says

Britain’s Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said on Friday there were “early signs” that the monkeypox outbreak was plateauing across the country and its spread slowing.

“Although the latest data suggests that the outbreak’s growth has slowed, we cannot be complacent,” said Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA.

As of August 4, there were 2,859 confirmed and most probable cases of monkeypox in the UK, with nearly 99% of the cases being males, the country’s health agency said in a statement.

The UKHSA’s most recent analysis showed that “monkeypox continues to be transmitted primarily in interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men,” she added.

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British authorities in June recommended offering a vaccine to gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox, as the outbreak of the viral disease had gained momentum, particularly in Europe.

People at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox are offered the smallpox vaccine, Dr. Chand.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern,” its highest alert level.

Following the WHO move, the US also declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday.