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Scottish monkeypox cases rise to 67 as WHO experts declare global emergency

Edinburgh Live logo Edinburgh Live 08/08/2022 Danyel VanReenen

Public Health Scotland has continued to report a rise in monkeypox cases, with a total of 67 laboratory-confirmed cases in Scotland since May 23.

The World Health Organisation recently declared that the outbreak, which has spread to more than 70 countries, is now a global emergency. As of August 4, there are 2,768 confirmed cases across the UK in total, with the vast majority reported in England.

Public Health reported that most current cases in Scotland have been confirmed in men who have sex with men, and are primarily associated with recent travel to London or Europe. However, the organisation emphasised that anyone can catch and transmit monkeypox.

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Although the WHO is on high alert, Navin Khosla, a medical writer from MARS previously said that most people who contract the virus only exhibit mild symptoms for approximately four weeks before recovering.

"Although cases of monkeypox are on the rise, it’s a rare disease and most people who contract the virus usually only suffer with mild symptoms which last around two to four weeks,” Khosla said.

Experts with FROM MARS have shared the most common symptoms to look out for, including:

  • High temperature

  • Muscle aches

  • Swollen glands

  • Fatigue

  • Shivering

A recent medical review also included pseudo pustules among the common symptoms. Pustules are lesions on the skin where the top layer can be scraped away, but this isn't possible with pseudo pustules.

“With monkeypox cases increasing globally, there is increased demand for the smallpox vaccine that is used for the programme, yet there is a limited supply,” said Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director at Public Health Scotland.

“We are working closely with colleagues across the UK to ensure that further vaccinations are acquired and are offered to those at highest risk first. As more supplies become available, more people will be offered a first dose.”

Public Health Scotland said the wider pre-exposure programme has started in some areas of Scotland with vaccinations offered to groups of people with a higher risk of exposure - including some gay and bisexual men and a small number of healthcare workers who work in high-risk settings.

The vaccine is being procured by UKHSA on behalf of the UK and then allocated to areas where it can be deployed most effectively to limit the transmission of virus.

“Due to global demand for the vaccine and limitations on the number that can be manufactured, there is limited supply. As a result, geographical areas which have a high proportion of individuals who are eligible for vaccination are being prioritised,” Public Health Scotland said in a news release.

“Thus far, 3000 vaccine pre-exposure doses have been apportioned to Scotland and these have been allocated to Health Boards across the country, who are responsible for identifying and offering vaccination to eligible individuals.”

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