Mpox (monkeypox)

Mpox (monkeypox)

There has recently been an increase in cases in the UK, but the risk of catching it is low

Vaccination

If you receive a message inviting you to book a mpox vaccination, please reply to the message. If you haven’t been contacted and feel you’re at risk, please call 01273 523388. We have now started to send invites to people for their second vaccination.

Cases

A small number of people in the UK have been diagnosed with mpox and the risk remains low. Mpox is a rare infection. Although more people have been diagnosed with it recently, only a small number of people in the UK have had mpox and the risk remains low. Anyone can get mpox. Currently most cases have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men. Up to 21st November 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed 3,570 mpox cases and 150 highly probable mpox cases in the UK: 3,720 in total.

How is it spread ?

Mpox is passed on from person to person through any close physical contact with mpox blisters or scabs. This includes holding hands, kissing and during sexual contact.

It can also be passed on by touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with mpox.

Symptoms

The first symptoms of mpox include:

  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals and anus. Unless you have been in close contact with someone who has mpox or has mpox symptoms, or have recently travelled to west or central Africa, you’re extremely unlikely to have mpox. If you feel unwell or have any concerns, call SHAC on 01273 523 388

How can I lower my risk of catching mpox?

At events

Consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact may happen at any event you plan to attend. If you feel sick or have any rashes or sores, do not attend any gathering. Speak to your GP or local sexual health clinic. Festivals, events, and concerts where you’re fully clothed and unlikely to have skin-to-skin contact are safer. But be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread mpox. A rave, party, or club where there’s less clothing and where there’s direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact has some risk. Avoid any rashes or sores you see on others. Consider avoiding touching others where possible. Enclosed spaces, such as dark rooms, saunas, or sex clubs, where there is minimal or no clothing and where intimate sexual contact occurs, have a higher chance of spreading mpox.

Having sex

Talk to your partner about any recent illness. Be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including the genitals and anus. If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash or sores, do not have sex. Speak to your GP or local sexual health clinic. If you or a partner has mpox, the best way to protect yourself and others is to not have sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal). Do not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you’re sick, especially any rash or sores. Do not share things like towels, toothbrushes, fetish gear and sex toys.