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UK's public health agencies issue new Monkeypox guidance for managing the disease and preventing further transmission

Published: 16 June 2022

New guidance to support healthcare professionals to respond to the outbreak of Monkeypox has been agreed by the UK’s four public health agencies - Public Health Wales (PHW), UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland (PHS), and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland (PHA). 

The guidance sets out new measures for healthcare professionals and the public for managing the disease and preventing further transmission now that community transmission is occurring here in the UK and other countries. 

People who have possible, probable or confirmed Monkeypox can now isolate at home, if they remain well enough, whilst following measures advised in the new guidance to reduce further spread and while being monitored by local health protection teams. 

In addition, UKHSA has purchased over 20,000 doses of a safe smallpox vaccine called Imvanex (supplied by Bavarian Nordic) and this is being offered to identified close contacts of those diagnosed with Monkeypox to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and severe illness. 
  
The guidance published today recommends that: 

  • People with possible, probable or confirmed Monkeypox should avoid contact with other people until all their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off. Cases can reduce the risk of transmission by following standard cleaning and disinfection methods and washing their own clothing and bed linen with standard detergents in a washing machine.  Advice for those isolating at home can be found here
  • Cases should also abstain from sex while symptomatic, including the period of early symptom onset, and while lesions are present. Whilst there is currently no available evidence of Monkeypox in genital excretions, as a precaution, cases are advised to use condoms for 8 weeks after infection and this guidance will be updated as evidence emerges.  
  • If people with possible, probable or confirmed Monkeypox infection need to travel to seek healthcare, they should ensure any lesions are covered by cloth and wear a face covering and avoid public transport where possible.  
  • Contacts of someone with Monkeypox will also be risk assessed and told to isolate for 21 days if necessary.  
  • Where possible, pregnant healthcare workers and severely immunosuppressed individuals (as outlined in the Green Book) should not assess or clinically care for individuals with suspected or confirmed Monkeypox. This guidance will be reassessed as evidence emerges.
  • Infection prevention and control advice (including appropriate PPE) for healthcare settings in Wales can be found here 
  • Within non-domestic residential settings (e.g. adult social care, prisons, homeless shelters, refuges), individuals who are clinically well should be managed in a single room with separate toilet facilities where possible. Close contacts of confirmed cases should be assessed for vaccination.