The Monkeypox outbreak in the UK continues to grow. As of 18 July 2022, there were 2,137 confirmed cases in the UK and of these 2,050 are in England.
UKHSA guidance for close contacts of a confirmed monkeypox case has been updated. This means close contacts won’t need to isolate at home if they don’t have symptoms.
The change is being implemented in response to latest data showing that a relatively small number of close contacts have gone on to develop monkeypox and a lack of evidence of transmission outside of close intimate or sexual contact, now that more epidemiological information is available.
In response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, UKHSA has procured more than 100,000 additional doses of the smallpox vaccine enabling more people to be vaccinated to prevent infection and limit transmission of the virus. Additional doses will arrive from the manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, this month, with the remainder expected by September.
The UK previously procured nearly 30,000 doses and the NHS is already rolling out the vaccine to those who are more likely to acquire the virus, including healthcare workers in specialist roles and in clinics where exposure to monkeypox is highest.
The evidence relating to the transmission of monkeypox through semen is limited at the present time. In line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance, UKHSA is now advising people to use condoms for 12 weeks after infection. This is a precaution to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to a partner. They advise those with monkeypox to not have sex while symptomatic and while lesions are present.