LONDON — British health officials say there have now been 1,735 confirmed cases of monkeypox and that three-quarters of those cases are in London, according to data released on Tuesday.
In a review of the outbreak published last week, Britain’s Health Security Agency said there were “no signs of a decline” in the monkeypox epidemic and that the virus “continues to be transmitted primarily in interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.” The agency said 97% of cases fell in that category and that there was no evidence of sustained transmission beyond that.
Scientists warn anyone coming into contact with monkeypox-infected persons or those in their clothes or bedding are at risk.
British scientists estimate the outbreak is doubling in size about every two weeks and said it’s likely cases are being undercounted. Nearly 80% are not able to determine if they were in close contact with confirmed cases. This means that the virus spreads undetected.
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Scientists noted unusual symptoms in some people, such as a single lesion. They also reported that monkeypox has been found elsewhere. Around 10% of the infected in the U.K. were admitted to hospital, however no deaths have been reported.
British experts stated that the virus spreads through sexual or close contact, and there is no evidence to suggest it has ever been transmitted by air.
The Health Security Agency said the number of cases and countries identifying monkeypox “continues to increase steeply,” saying that infections beyond Africa have also been primarily seen in gay and bisexual men. Three cases of monkeypox were reported in children. Children are much more susceptible to developing serious diseases.
The World Health Organization did not declare monkeypox an emergency last month but stated that it will reconsider its decision. According to the World Health Organization, its assessment of monkeypox could change depending on whether there are more serious cases or rapid spread.
Many people with monkeypox experience symptoms such as fever and body aches. However, most of them recover quickly without the need for medical attention.
The disease is most prevalent in central and western Africa where it has been an endemic disease for many decades. It mostly strikes people who have come into direct contact with wild primates or rodents. There were about 1500 cases, with 70 deaths in Congo, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are over 9,600 monkeypox cases worldwide, in almost 60 countries. Most of these countries have never reported it.
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