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Monkeypox: What is it?

By QMHalls 10 Jun 2022

You may have heard recently in the news that there has been some cases of Monkeypox in the UK. Although it's a very rare illness, it's worth being aware of the symptoms and how it's spread so you can keep yourself safe.  

What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by the monkeypox virus and one of the symptoms is a rash that is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It is usually associated with travel to Central or West Africa, but cases are now slowly spreading through some communities.

The most likely route of monkeypox transmission is close physical contact, such as through:

  • touching or sharing things like clothing, bedding or towels used by someone who has the monkeypox rash
  • touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs
  • kissing, skin-to-skin contact or having sex with someone who has monkeypox rash.

What should someone do if they suspect they have monkeypox?
Anyone with recent unexpected / unusual spots, ulcers or blisters on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, should immediately contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service

People should notify clinics ahead of their visit and avoid close contact with others until they have been seen by a clinician. People can be assured their call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

You can find more information via this downloadable PDF. 

Should you have any concerns, you can contact the following helplines:

  • National Sexual Health Helpline: 0300 1237123, Mon – Fri 9am – 8pm; Sat & Sun 11-4pm
  • Monkey Pox Helpline: 0333 2423 672, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm; Sat & Sun 9am-1pm

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