Men who have ‘high risk’ of having sex with monkeys and getting monkey pox will be vaccinated to prevent infection, health officials have announced today.
About 800 cases of the virus, which usually occurs only in Africa, have been reported in the UK. To date, almost all infections have been reported in men who have sex with other men.
In an effort to stem the number of cases, the UK Health Protection Agency today confirmed that some gay and bisexual men will be offered the immunox vaccine – which is 85 per cent effective against the virus – to control the outbreak.
Under plans from experts advising on the covid vaccine rollout, physicians will respond to men who have multiple partners, engage in group sex, or attend ‘sex on campus’.
Until now, Jab has only proposed confirmed cases and their close contacts under a strategy called ring vaccination, which has been proven to work in other outbreaks.
Experts told MailOnline a fortnight ago that if the infection spiral continues, another sensible step would be to expand the vaccination program to targeted rollouts for more men who have sex with men, anyone who goes to a sexual health clinic, and NHS staff.
Kovid-tired Britons were warned today that the monkey outbreak could be up to 10 times greater by experts following the sad models used to justify the embargo. Modeling suggested, however, that any increase in the cases of groups other than gay and bisexual men was ‘impossible’.
Meanwhile, UK healthcare owners reported an additional 219 infections today – the highest daily toll – bringing the total to 793 in the UK. London is the virus hotspot of the country.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, Spain and Germany, have been affected by the disaster – the largest ever discovered outside Africa. To date, almost all infections have been reported in men who have sex with other men.
Authorities are urging gay and bisexual men to be aware of new wounds, scars or scabs and contact a sexual health clinic.
Infection often begins with small bumps that turn gray and become contagious
Timeline of Monkeypox
1958: Monkeys were first discovered after an outbreak of a disease like pox in monkeys kept for research.
1970: The first human case was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970 and has since been reported in many Central and West African countries.
2003: Monkeys outbreak in US after rats were brought from Africa Cases were reported in both human and domestic prairie dogs. All human infections came in contact with infected pets and all patients recovered.
September 8, 2018: Monkey Pix appeared for the first time in the UK on a Nigerian naval officer who went to Cornwall for training. He was treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
September 11, 2018: The case of the second British monkey pox has been confirmed in Blackpool. There is no link to the first case in Cornwall. Instead, the patient contracted the infection while traveling in Nigeria. He was treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
September 26, 2018: A third person has been found to have monkey pox. The man worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and was treated for a second case of monkeypox. He was treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
December 3, 2019: This is the fourth case of a patient being diagnosed with monkey pox in England.
May 25, 2021: Two cases of monkey pox have been identified in North Wales. Both patients had travel links to Nigeria.
A third person with one case was diagnosed and hospitalized, bringing the total to seven.
May 7, 2022: A man was found to have monkeypox in England after a recent trip to Nigeria. The man was cared for in the specialist infectious disease unit of the Guys and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in London. Experts suggest that the virus was spread in the UK months before the case first appeared.
May 14, 2022: Two more infected in London The infected couple lived in the same house but were not in contact with the case, which was announced a week ago.
One of them was taken to the specialist infectious disease unit at St Mary’s Hospital in London. Separate and hospital treatment was not required in another house.
May 16, 2022: Four more cases were announced, bringing the total to seven in the UK. Three of these cases are in London, while one of their contacts is infected in the north-east of England.
The UKHSA confirms that the number of cases described as ‘unusual’ and ‘surprising’ is mainly among gay and bisexual men and advises them to look for new spots.
May 19, 2022: Two more cases not connected with any travel link or other cases were revealed. The cases were based in the southeast and London. Fear grew that the infection would not be detected.
May 20, 2022Eleven more cases have been announced, meaning the number of monkey pox cases in the UK has doubled to 20. Ministers discuss the possibility of a public health campaign to warn gay men that the disease could spread further.
May 23-26, 2022: For the first time, there are cases of monkey pox in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
May 29, 2022: The World Health Organization (WHO) says the risk of monkeys is “moderate”, citing concerns that the virus could infect children and people with immunosuppressants if it becomes more widespread.
June 7, 2022: UKHSA declares monkeypox a notifiable disease. This means that all physicians should alert local health authorities to suspicious cases. Tropical viruses now carry the same legal status as plague, rabies and measles.
The scientists behind the MonkeyPix modeling are Professor John Edmunds, an LSHTM epidemiologist who was one of the most vocal SAGE members during the Kovid outbreak.
Two other study authors are also government advisers, sitting on the infamous SPI-M modeling committee. It warns of 6,000 deaths a day during the Christmas race, even if the actual peak is 20 times lower.
Without strong intervention, he warned, Omicron could potentially exceed 10,000 daily hospital admissions – four times the actual figure.
In their later modeling, Professor Edmunds and other LSHTM scientists looked at how monkey pox could spread.
Their estimates were based on sex sharing data in the UK, collected from a survey of 45,000 people conducted each decade.
Monkeypox, renamed because of its claims of discrimination against Africa, is not usually a sexually transmitted infection.
But it is considered the main mode of transmission in the ongoing outbreak.
The virus, first found in laboratory monkeys in the 1950’s, can be spread by touching clothes, bedding or towels used by infected people.
During the modeling on May 31, 728 confirmed and suspicious incidents were reported in more than 25 countries worldwide. Since then, about 3,000 people have been found infected worldwide.
Results published on the pre-print website medRxiv show that without intervention or changes in sexual behavior, it is ‘highly likely’ that men who have sex with men will see a ‘major outbreak’.
A major outbreak was defined as having at least another 10,000 cases, on top of those already detected.
Moderators said their findings, which have not been peer-reviewed, show that a ‘small fraction’ of people with ‘unequally large’ sexual partners could explain the ‘sustainable growth’ of monkeys in men who have sex with men.
MonkeyPacks could always be at risk of ‘substantial broadcasting capacity’ in this community, their paper explains.
But it has not stopped because very few cases have been filed outside Africa in the past few decades, he said.
However, the team said continuous broadcasting to other groups was “impossible.”
But they noted that if the group was highly infected, there would be an additional 10,000 to 10,000 cases outside of men having sex with men.
MonkeyPix R-Rate – a term popularized during epidemics, which refers to the number of people transmitting the virus to an infected person – could be ‘much larger than one’ which could make it challenging to control the outbreak, their paper says.
Detecting and vaccinating close contacts of an infected person – a method used in the UK – only works if almost all of the infected person’s contacts are identified, he warned.
He said experts should identify “acceptable and effective measures to prevent transmission in men with the highest number of sexual partners, which could have an unequal effect on the overall transmission.”
The UKHSA confirmed today that the UK outbreak had risen by 38 per cent to 793 since Friday.
Of the 766 confirmed cases, 498 are in London, 37 in the south-east and 26 in the north-west. All other regions have logged 20 or fewer cases.
Public Health Scotland said on Sunday that all cases appeared to be “generally mild and not life-threatening” and that no deaths had been reported in the UK so far.
Cases of monkeys are on average 37 years old, health owners said.
The UKHSA advises Britons to contact their sexual health clinic if they have skin lesions and are in close contact with a suspected or confirmed Monkipax case or have been in West or Central Africa for the past three weeks.
As part of efforts to thwart the growing outbreak, confirmed cases and close contacts are offered Imvenex Jab, which is 85 percent effective against the virus. The strategy, known as ring vaccination, has been used in the past and has proven to work.
The disease is usually mild and has an incubation period of up to 21 days, which means it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. A rash may develop, usually starting in the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body, including the genitals.
However, it can kill up to 10 percent of infected people. But the current outbreak has a mild stress case-death rate of one in 100 – just like when Covid was hit for the first time.
No deaths related to the ongoing outbreak have been reported so far.
Outside the UK, Spain (497), Germany (421) and Portugal (297) had the highest number of infections.
Experts warn that if the virus spreads to pets and wildlife, it could be endemic to monkeys in some parts of Nigeria, as well as in Europe. This makes animals a permanent reservoir of viruses that can infect humans, triggering sporadic outbreaks.