A FURTHER 52 cases of monkeypox have been detected in the UK, raising the total to 524 infections.
The increase in cases comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to meet to discuss whether the outbreak is an emergency.
In recent weeks around 1,600 cases have been detected globally – something experts say is 'concerning'.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO said: "It's for that reason I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the international health regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,"
Across the UK there are 524, with the majority, 504, being in England, 13 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 5 in Wales.
Anyone can get the bug – particularly if you have had close contact, including sexual contact, with an individual with symptoms.
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Medics say you should contact a sexual health clinic if you have rashes or blisters and if you have been in contact with someone who has had monkeypox in the last three weeks.
This guidance also applies to those who have been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks.
However, the WHO are also set to rename the virus – in a move which could see the illness called hMPXV.
It comes after 30 scientists wrote a letter calling for the change, over concerns it could provoke racism and stigmatisation.
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Anyone can get monkeypox, and before the current outbreak, it was mostly found in African countries.
But experts are worried that references to the illness as African are problematic.
In a letter to the organisation scientists said that "continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatising."
The note continued: "The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north."
A technical briefing issued the UKHSA on Friday found that the majority of cases in the UK are in London – with 99 per cent of them being in men.
The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old.
The signs of monkeypox you need to know
Experts at the UK Health Security Agency have said all Brits should be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.
The signs may include:
- Muscle aches
- Night sweats
- Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swollen groin
Medics said that complications of the illness were documented as:
- low mood
- severe pain
UKHSA admitted that "traditional contact tracing is currently challenging".
Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
However, the data suggests that this is the primary way that the virus is spreading.
Experts today told the WHO that Pride events could help in spreading public information about monkeypox.
Steve Taylor, board member at EuroPride, said the virus – which has been mainly concentrated in the men who have sex with men community – must not be used as an excuse to shut down LGBTQ+ events.
There are set to be around 750 pride events this summer across Europe and organisers say there will be clear messaging as to how people can protect themselves.
Senior emergency officer at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Dr Catherine Smallwood was quizzed on why the majority of cases have been detected in men who have sex with men.
She explained that 'all outbreaks start somewhere'.
"This virus doesn’t choose any one person against another, it’s opportunistic in its spread.
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“And how it will spread will really be defined by the opportunities it has.
“It’s also a disease that has an incubation period of 21 days. We’re just over a month into this outbreak, understanding that outbreak, so it’s too early to conclude as to how it will be spreading amongst the general population," she added.
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