UK health authorities said on Friday that the nationwide monkeypox outbreak may be peaking and that the epidemic’s growth has slowed.
The UK Health Security Agency said in a statement that there are “early signs that the outbreak is leveling off”, with a total of 2,859 cases since May. No deaths were reported. Last month, authorities estimated the size of the outbreak was doubling roughly every two weeks, but new infections have fallen in recent weeks.
“While the latest data suggest that the growth of the outbreak has slowed, we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Meera, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the Health Security Agency Dr Chand said. She said anyone who thinks they may have monkeypox should avoid meeting friends, social gatherings and avoid sexual contact.
The Health Security said its latest analysis of the outbreak “suggests that monkeypox continues to be prevalent in gay, bisexual or in interlinked sexual networks of men who have sex with other men.” More than 70% of UK cases occur in London.
UK officials note a small number of female cases but say there is not enough evidence monkeypox affects gay and bisexual men Continued transmission outside of men; in the UK, 99% of cases are men.
Scientists analyzing monkeypox virus in the UK noticed some mutations compared to the virus circulating in Africa, but said there was no evidence showed that these genetic changes made monkeypox more contagious.
Experts suspect monkeypox outbreaks in North America and Europe may have started as early as the disease began sexually transmitted through two sprees in Spain and Belgium It originated in Africa before the festival.
The World Health Organization said this week that 92 percent of monkeypox cases outside Africa may be sexually transmitted, with The Director-General recently called for vulnerable gay and bisexual men to consider reducing their sexual partners “for now”.
To date, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 26,000 cases of monkeypox, an increase of 19% last week.
In June, UK authorities expanded their vaccination strategy to not only treat monkeypox patients and those of their high-risk contacts Vaccines are provided by health workers and to some gay or bisexual men and men at high risk of contracting the virus, including men who have multiple sexual partners or who participate in group activities
Last month, the UK downgraded its assessment of monkeypox outbreaks and lowered the advice for contacts of monkeypox cases to three weeks of isolation unless they are symptomatic. The data showed that only a small number of contacts ended up contracting monkeypox, and there was a lack of evidence that the disease spread without close, intimate or sexual contact.
On Thursday, the United States declared its monkeypox outbreak a national emergency, and the World Health Organization last month designated it a global emergency.
Monkeypox spreads when people have close physical contact with an infected person’s foci, clothing, or sheets . Most people recover without treatment, but lesions can be very painful, and more severe cases can lead to complications including encephalitis and death.
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