As you will probably be aware, there have been a small number of cases of the rare viral infection ‘Monkeypox’ reported in the UK, other parts of Europe and the US and Canada in the past couple of weeks.
Anyone can contract Monkeypox, but currently the majority of cases have been reported in gay and bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). This group are being asked to be alert to symptoms as it’s believed to be transmitting in sexual networks.
This is a quickly evolving area, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), NHS and other health bodies closely monitoring the situation. They will release further information and guidance as it becomes available.
It’s important to note that Monkeypox is normally a mild self-limiting illness which most people recover from in a few weeks.
Little research has been done on people living with HIV and monkeypox. At the moment people living with HIV should follow the same advice as the general population.
Below is some information about transmission, symptoms and what to do if you think you might have Monkeypox.
How does it transmit?
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people. However, it can be caught from:
- touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash,
- touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs,
- the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash.
We're learning more from the latest cases, and while it is not thought monkeypox can be sexually transmitted, close contact during sexual activity could lead to transmission.
What are the symptoms?
Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Unexpected/unexplained spots, ulcers or blisters can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.
The spot, ulcer or blister changes over time and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox, anogenital herpes or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
Symptoms last for up to four weeks.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Do not attend a clinic, hospital or your GP in person, unless they arrange an appointment with you.
Contact your local sexual health/GUM clinic if:
- You have a new unexplained/unexpected spot, ulcer or blister on your body, especially the face or genitals.
- You have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last three weeks.
Can I come to George House Trust if I have symptoms?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or feel generally unwell, do not come to the George House Trust building.
If you require support, we can provide this over the phone or online. You can contact our office directly on 0161 274 4499.
This webpage is being regularly updated
(some information in this article is courtesy of the Terrence Higgins Trust)