The UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) has identified over 2000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in gay men. The outbreak is centred on London. It’s usually a mild illness that settles on its own, but it can sometimes become more serious. The UKHSA are contacting people who have been in contact with a known case.
MONKEYPOX VACCINE: UPDATED 12/08/22
We are sorry that we are currently unable to offer any new monkeypox vaccination appointments in August due to vaccine supply. Anyone who has an existing appointment booked with us will receive a vaccine. As soon as we have further supply which is likely to be in September, we will update our website and social media channels. We kindly ask you to keep an eye on future posts for updates and not contact us directly about new vaccine appointments or second doses as we are currently unable to book you. Thank you.
The immunisation programme is currently focused on gay men who:
- Have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the last year.
- Regularly have sex with new partners.
- Are current users of PrEP.
The following group should not have the vaccine:
- Allergy to chicken protein (e.g. eggs)
- Allergy to Gentamicin or Ciprofloxacin antibiotics
- If you currently have a high fever or other symptom of monkey pox
Most people get no side effects. Some people have temporary mild flu like symptoms such as fever, aches and tiredness. Others may get itching or soreness at the injection site.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms of monkeypox begin 5-21 days (average 6-16 days) after being exposed to the virus. Usually the first signs are a high fever, muscle and joint aches, enlarged lymph glands and a severe headache. One to 5 days later a rash appears. In the current outbreak not everyone developed a fever. The rash often starts on the genitals or face before spreading to other parts of the body. Sometimes only the throat or rectum are affected. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off leaving healthy skin underneath. Once the final scab has dropped off they are no longer infectious.
Monkeypox is usually mild and most people will recover within a few weeks without any treatment. Treatments such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can help with the fever and aches. Sometimes people become more unwell and need to be admitted to hospital. You should seek urgent medical advice if they develop any of these symptoms
- Severe pain (e.g If it prevents swallowing, urination or defaecation)
- A worsening chest infection
- The surface of the eye is affected
- If there are over 100 lesions on the skin
The strain found in the UK is the ‘West African clade’. This usually causes a less severe illness and the risk of dying from an infection is around 1% (Rather than the 10% reported in the press).
How do you catch Monkeypox?
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people. Person-to-person spread may occur through:
- Direct contact with the skin lesions or scabs.
- Contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) that have been used by an infected person.
- Breathing in droplets from the coughing or sneezing of someone who has a monkeypox rash
What do I do if I think I might have it?
Call us for advice if you become unwell with a fever and then develop a rash on your genitals a few days later. Please don’t walk into the clinic. Avoid skin to skin contact with others. Don’t share plates, cutlery, bedding, towels and other linen. Avoid sex until you’re given the all clear.
If you test positive, continue to isolate until the last scab comes off. If you have to travel (e.g. a hospital appointment), you should ideally walk, cycle or be driven in your own car. If you have no other choice, wear a mask and cover any lesions on public transport.
Some people are at increased risk of complications for monkeypox. So particularly avoid contact with these groups
- Pregnant women
- Children under 12
- Immunosuppressed people (HIV positive people not on treatment or with a CD4 count under 200)