A suspected case of monkeypox has been identified in Wigan, as reports across the country continue to rise.
New figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows there was a report of a suspected case of monkeypox in the Wigan borough in the week ending 12 June.
The UKHSA says there were 550 confirmed cases in England, 16 in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and six in Wales, as of June 16.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It’s usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks, but some can develop a severe illness. Anyone can get monkeypox, particularly people who have had close contact, including sexual contact, with someone with symptoms.
Dr William Welfare, incident director at UKHSA, said: “As case numbers of monkeypox continue to rise and with many summer events and festivals ahead, we’re reminding people to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, particularly if you’ve recently had new or multiple sexual partners, to help prevent further spread and protect others.
“If you have a rash with blisters, or any other monkeypox symptoms, don’t go to events, meet with friends or have sexual contact. Instead, stay at home and contact 111 or your local sexual health service for advice. Please contact the clinic ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you’ve been seen by a clinician.
“UKHSA is working closely with partners across the country, including event organisers and venues, to raise public awareness of monkeypox symptoms so everyone has a safe, happy and healthy summer.”
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
People are urged to contact a sexual health clinic if they have a rash with blisters and have either had close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox in the past three weeks, or if they have been to west or central Africa in the past three weeks.
Initial symptoms 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. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.