20 May 2022, 20:09

New monkeypox cases take UK total to 20

    LONDON, May 20, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - UK health officials said on Friday

there had been 11 more confirmed cases of the rare monkeypox virus in the
country, taking the total to 20.

     The announcement came as France, Belgium and Germany reported their
first cases of monkeypox, joining several other European and North American
nations in detecting the disease, which is endemic in parts of Africa.

     The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had "detected 11 new cases
of monkeypox in England", up from a total of nine.

     "Most cases are mild and I can confirm we have procured further doses of
vaccines that are effective against monkeypox," Health Secretary Sajid Javid

     The UKHSA's chief medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, said that she expected
"this increase to continue in the coming days and for more cases to be
identified in the wider community".

     She particularly urged gay and bisexual men to look out for symptoms,
saying a "notable proportion" of cases in UK and Europe came from this group.

     The UKHSA said monkeypox had not previously been described as a sexually
transmitted infection.

     The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was also investigating the
fact that many cases reported were people identifying as gay, bisexual or men
who have sex with men.

     Symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph
nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

     It can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of
a contaminated person, as well as shared items such as bedding and towels.

     The first UK case was announced on May 7, in a patient who had recently
travelled to Nigeria.

     Two more cases were reported a week later, in people in the same
household. They had no link to the first case.

     The UKHSA said that four further cases announced May 16 all identified
as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men and appeared to have been
infected in London.

     It said two new cases reported on May 18 also had no history of travel
to countries where the virus is endemic and "so it is possible they acquired
the infection through community transmission".

     It did not give any details of the latest cases of infection announced
on Friday.

     Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Italy, Portugal, Spain and
Sweden as well as in the United States and Canada, leading to fears that the
disease -- normally concentrated in Central and West Africa -- may be

     Monkeypox usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to the