31 May 2022

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are a number of confirmed cases in the UK which continues to rise. Click here for more information on symptoms or what to do if you think you have been in contact with someone with monkeypox.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.

The virus can spread if there is close contact between people and the risk to the UK population is low. However, recent cases are predominantly in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and as the virus spreads through close contact, we are advising these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

Symptoms

  • Unusual rashes or lesions on the body such as the face or genital area
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

What to do

If you think you have monkeypox symptoms – however mild:

  • Contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health clinic (details below) immediately. Your call will be treated sensitively and confidentially.
  • You should isolate for 21 days if you have been in direct contact (including household or sexual contact) with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

The St Helens Sexual Health Service is based at St Helens Hospital - click here for more information

If you are concerned that you have symptoms of monkeypox, please contact  the clinic on 01744 646473 and avoid close contact with others until you have been seen by a clinician. Your call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Contacts are advised to provide their details for contact tracing, forgo travel, and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12 - please click here for more information on contact tracing: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/monkeypox/

We all have a role to play to control the spread of monkeypox by raising awareness and reducing stigma through engagement with the public and professionals. https://www.tht.org.uk/news/monkeypox-uk

 

Infection prevention and control advice

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, however as ongoing community transmission is occurring in the UK with multiple generations of spread,  it is important to follow the latest infection prevention and control advice to minimise spread through known routes of transmission.

Click here for more advice from the government website on infection prevention and control guidance on reducing spread.