Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are a number of cases in the UK – and that number is rising.
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, the UK Health Security Agency is advising these groups in particular to be alert to any symptoms of monkeypox, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.
Symptoms of monkeypox include:
- unusual rashes or lesions on the body such as the face or genital area
- muscle aches
- chills and exhaustion
- swollen lymph nodes
If you think you have monkeypox symptoms – however mild – you should:
- contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health clinic immediately. Your call will be treated sensitively and confidentially.
- avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you know that this is not monkeypox.
Please contact clinics ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you have been seen by a clinician.
For more advice and guidance on monkeypox, visit: