According to the Government data, there were 1,076 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK on June 26. The cases have been soaring since the first infection was confirmed on May 6. However, the UK isn’t the only country affected by the spread as the US has also seen a rising number of infections. An American epidemiologist shares that monkeypox may become “permanently entrenched” due to “innocuous” signs.
Dr Jay Varma, an epidemiologist at the Weill Cornell Medical School in New York City, warned that monkeypox might become a “permanently entrenched” sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the US.
He said: “Other experts and I fear that monkeypox will exploit this vulnerability [of a lack of testing] and become a permanently entrenched STI in the United States.”
The expert explained that this could happen because of easy-to-miss early symptoms.
Dr Varma shared that the early signs can be often “innocuous” and in hard-to-see locations, such as the inside of the anus.
He explained that this could cause the infection to spread to others during the window in which the sufferer doesn’t realise the presence of the infection.
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While monkeypox eventually tends to cause flu-like symptoms and a tell-tale rash across your body, the initial signs might be not so apparent.
Dr Varma penned for New York Times: “Initial skin changes in this outbreak often appear innocuous and can occur in locations that are easy to miss, such as inside the anus.
“Nevertheless, these lesions are highly contagious and can even contaminate surfaces or materials such as towels, which can spread infection to other people.
“The skin changes can also mimic those of other infections, such as herpes, molluscum or syphilis, so monkeypox can be easily misdiagnosed by someone not expert in evaluating STIs.”
The rash might often begin on your face, spreading to other parts of the body as well as your genitals.
Being similar to chickenpox, the rash starts with raised spots which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually fall off.
The health service recommends contacting a sexual health clinic if you have a rash and you’ve been in close contact with someone with monkeypox or if you’ve recently been to west or central Africa.
It also advises to stay at home and avoid close contact with others until you’ve been told what to do.
How to reduce your risk of catching monkeypox
Navin Khosla, Superintendent Pharmacist at FROM MARS, said: “Although cases of monkeypox in the UK are on the rise, it’s a rare disease and most people who contract the virus usually only suffer from mild symptoms which last around two to four weeks.
“No matter how obscure this may sound, it’s important to stay away from any dead animals you may come across, whether that’s in the street or local woodlands and stay away from animals which appear unwell.
“In relation to human transmission, it’s important to avoid contact with any humans who are unwell and refrain from sharing bedding, towels and other items they may have been in contact with.
“Alongside all of these precautions, it’s important to wash your hands on a regular basis and use hand sanitiser as often as possible, as well as only eating meat which has been cooked thoroughly.”