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Sexual health clinics put on alert over monkeypox threat

25 May 2022 2 minute read
Monkeypox rash.Photo PA Images

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Sexual health clinics across the north of Wales have been put on alert following the spread of monkeypox, says Public Health Wales, as they reassure the virus is usually ‘self-limiting’.

Despite small clusters of cases across Europe, including 78 in England, Wales is yet to record its first case in the outbreak.

Last week Public Health Wales said the chief medical officer had sent a letter to frontline NHS workers, warning about the disease.

Today Public Health Wales reassured the Local Democracy Reporting Service that sexual health clinics in the north had also been briefed.

This follows several cases across Europe being linked to gay and bisexual men.

Close contact

The virus is spread by close contact.

When asked what provisions were being put in place at sexual health clinics, a spokesman for Public Health Wales commented: “It is important to point out that monkeypox isn’t a sexually transmitted disease.

“It can be transmitted like chickenpox, any skin-to-skin contact, kids playing, that sort of thing (and close physical contact).

“It’s not a sexually transmitted disease. It’s just that’s where it’s being noticed primarily.

“But sexual health clinics would have been included in the chief medical officer’s letter. I also know alerts have gone out through primary care. In terms of sexual health clinics, they would have received the letters and the alerts.”

With cases steadily increasing, Public Health Wales reassured that Wales was yet to record a case, adding most cases were ‘mild’.

“As of now, we don’t have any cases in Wales at all, any confirmed cases,” he said.

“The information I have is that the strain is the (milder) West African strain. Monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people, and the overall risk to the general public is low.

“It is usually a mild, self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks; however, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”

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