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Public Health Wales statement on monkeypox

Updated: 27 June 2022

Sue Mably, Consultant in Public Health, for Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales is today (27 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to nine.  The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patients will be disclosed.”

NOTE: This news story will be updated on Mondays and Thursdays only from now on.

 

Updated: 22 June 2022 

Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales is today (22 June) confirming that two additional cases of monkeypox have been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to eight.  The cases are being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patients will be disclosed.”
 

Updated: 16 June 2022

Richard Firth, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said:  

“Public Health Wales is today (16 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to six.  The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.”

Updated: 14 June 2022

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:  

“Public Health Wales is today (14 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to five.  The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.”

Updated: 9 June 2022

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:  

“Public Health Wales is today (9 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to four.  The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.”
 

Updated: 6 June 2022

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:  

“Public Health Wales is today (6 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to three.  The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.”

Updated: 3 June 2022

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales is today (3 June) confirming that an additional case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.  This brings the total in Wales to two.

“We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, and we are ready to respond to cases of monkeypox in Wales.

“The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.

“We are reassuring people that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people, and the overall risk to the general public is low.  It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks.  However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

“Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.  A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet.  The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

“Everyone is being asked to be aware of the monkeypox symptoms, but it is important that gay and bisexual men are alert as it's believed to be spreading in sexual networks.

“Anyone with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body should contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health service if they have concerns.”

Cases of monkeypox in the UK, including in Wales, are reported on the UKHSA website.

 

Published: 26 May 2022

Dr Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales is today (Thursday 26 May) confirming that a case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.

“We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, and we are ready to respond to cases of monkeypox in Wales.

“The case is being managed appropriately.  To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.

“We are reassuring people that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people, and the overall risk to the general public is low.  It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks.  

“Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.  A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet.  The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

“Everyone is being asked to be aware of the monkeypox symptoms, but it is important that gay and bisexual men are alert as it's believed to be spreading in sexual networks.

“Anyone with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body should contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health service if they have concerns.”

Cases of monkeypox in the UK, including in Wales, are reported on the UKHSA website.

 

FAQs

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare illness often associated with travel to Central and Western Africa, it is usually a mild illness that does not spread easily between people and usually gets better by itself, with most people recovering within a few weeks.

While the risk to the general population is believed to be low, given that there are a number of UK cases not associated with foreign travel, we are continuing to monitor and investigate the situation.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • fever
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the appearance of fever, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals, hands and feet. The rash changes and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can be spread when a person comes into close contact with a person infected with the virus or contaminated items the infected person has touched.

The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).

Person-to-person spread is uncommon, but may occur through:

  • Touching clothing, bedding or towels used by an infected person
  • Touching monkeypox skin lesions or scabs, particularly if your own skin has sores or cuts
  • The coughs or sneezes of an infected person

What should I do if I think I might have monkeypox?

If you think you have monkeypox symptoms – however mild you should:

  • Contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health clinic immediately. Your call will be treated sensitively and confidentially.
  • Avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you’ve consulted a medical professional.

Please do not go directly to your GP surgery, contact clinics ahead of your visit and avoid any close contact with others until you have been seen by a clinician. Your call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Is monkeypox treatable?

Although there are few specific antiviral treatments available for monkeypox, the illness is usually mild and most of those infected will not require treatment and will recover by themselves within a few weeks.

Is there a vaccine available for monkeypox and will you be offering it to people?

There isn’t a specific monkeypox vaccine, but Imvanex a vaccine designed to treat smallpox, which comes from the same family of viruses, does offer some protection. Welsh Government have pro-actively procured further doses of this vaccine. The vaccine may be offered to some people who are known to have been in close contact with a confirmed case of Monkeypox.

Why have you specified the sexuality of the cases?

The most recent cases are presenting predominantly in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. They have no travel links to a country where monkeypox is endemic, so it is possible they acquired the infection through community transmission. As the virus spreads through close contact, we are asking these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

Is monkeypox spread by sex?

Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but, as with non-sexual activity, it can be passed on by direct skin to skin contact with lesions or scabs during sex. Contagious spots, through which infections are most likely to be passed on, can appear on any part of the body so condoms will not necessarily prevent transmission of the virus between two people who are in direct contact with each other. The infection can also be passed on through contact with clothing or linens used by an infected person.