New guidelines on monkeypox tell high-risk close contacts to isolate for 21 days
Contacts of monkeypox cases at high risk of infection should self-isolate for 21 days, the latest government guidelines say.
UK Health Safety Authority (UKHSA) guidance now recommends that people who have had “high-risk unprotected direct contact or exposure to the environment” should isolate for three weeks.
This includes not traveling, providing contact tracing information, and avoiding direct contact with immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, and children under the age of 12.
Those considered at high risk of contracting monkeypox may have had household contact, sexual contact, or changed bedding of an infected person without wearing appropriate PPE.
UKHSA also advises they are offered a smallpox vaccine.
The instructions come after Dr. Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser to the UKHSA, had warned that monkeypox spreads through community transmission.
So far the agency has confirmed 20 cases in the UK.
dr Hopkins said updated figures for the weekend would be released on Monday as she warned of more cases “daily”.
The disease, which first appeared in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus.
dr Hopkins warned that doctors are seeing community transmission, with cases being predominantly identified in people who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or in men who have sex with other men.
Speaking to BBC One on Sunday morning, Dr. Hopkins: “We will publish updated figures tomorrow – figures for the weekend.
“We are discovering more cases every day and I want to thank all of the people who have come forward to be tested at sexual health clinics, primary care physicians and the emergency room.”
Asked if there is community transmission in the UK, she said: “We are definitely finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which is what we have seen before in that country.
“Community transmission is largely concentrated in urban areas and we see it predominantly in people who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or in other men who have sex with men.”
When asked why it’s found in this demographic, she said: “It’s because of the frequent close contacts they may have.
“We would recommend anyone who regularly switches sex partners or who is in close contact with people they don’t know to speak up if they develop a rash.”
When asked whether people need to be vaccinated, she said: “There is no direct vaccine against monkeypox, but we use a type of smallpox vaccine – a third-generation smallpox vaccine that is safe in people who are contactees of cases.
“So we don’t use it in the general population.
“We use it in people who we think are at high risk of developing symptoms and apply it early, specifically within four or five days after the case has developed symptoms.
“For contacts, (this) reduces your risk of contracting disease, so that’s where we’re focusing our vaccination efforts.”
It comes as US President Joe Biden said the recent cases of monkeypox identified in Europe and the United States were “something to worry about”.
In his first public comments on the disease, Mr. Biden added: “It is worrying in that there would be consequences if it were to spread.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/joe-biden-africa-bbc-gps-europe-b2084860.html New guidelines on monkeypox tell high-risk close contacts to isolate for 21 days