Monkeypox in the gay community
Four more cases in the UK
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Signs are showing that something over the last two years has played havoc with our immune systems. Even the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is beginning to see it.
Last month it was hepatitis in children and now it’s monkeypox in the gay community.
“Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.
The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however, there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.”
Death rates are between 1 and 10 percent and children are often hit the hardest.
The first infection in England was diagnosed on 7 May 2022 in a patient that had recently travelled to Nigeria. The patient was sent to the infectious disease unit at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
A week later, on 14 May 2022 two more individuals were diagnosed. The new cases were from the same household but were not linked to the first case. One of these new cases went to the infectious disease unit whilst the other was isolating and did not require treatment.
Today, four more monkeypox cases were detected, 3 in London and another, hundreds of miles away in the north east of England. None of these new cases had known connections with any of the previous 3 cases.
All four of these new cases were in individuals who self-identify as gay, bisexual or have sex with men. The patients do not seem to have travelled to any country where monkeypox is endemic. At least three of these new cases are in specialist infectious disease units around the country.
So far and ‘fortunately’, all the individuals have the mild West African clade of the virus as opposed to the more severe Central African clade.
As with the paediatric hepatitis cases, these infections remain under urgent investigation.
The UKHSA are advising that due to the most recent cases being in gay or bisexual men “to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns”.
Hopefully this will fizzle out along with the hepatitis cases but with two rare viruses flaring up in the past few months it begs the question - have we messed with our immune systems over the last few years and are viruses going to start taking advantage?
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