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What is monkeypox and what is the level of risk in Wales?

31 May 2022 5 minute read
Undated handout file image issued by the UK Health Security Agency of the stages of Monkeypox. Right, monkeypox rash. Photo PA Images

Only one case of monkeypox has so far been confirmed in Wales.

However, some 179 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UK, including a further 71 cases of monkeypox have been detected in England just yesterday, so numbers are expected to rise.

Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan has said that “the overall risk to the general public is low” but that “everyone is being asked to be aware of monkeypox symptoms”.

“For most, it will be a self-limiting illness and people will recover within a few weeks but some people can experience severe illness,” she said.

“I urge anyone with an unusual rash or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitals, to avoid close contact with others and call NHS 111 or their local sexual health service for advice. They are also advised to phone ahead before attending in person.

“Everyone is being asked to be aware of monkeypox symptoms, but it’s particularly important gay and bisexual men are alert.”

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox and cases are usually found in West and Central Africa, with the virus not often spreading elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported in more than a dozen countries, including the UK, Portugal, Spain and the United States have caused alarm among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

What are the symptoms?

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, but some may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off.

Most people recover within a few weeks.

The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days.

How does monkeypox spread?

The most likely route of monkeypox transmission is close physical contact, touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, or touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs.

There is a smaller risk of it being spread through coughs and sneezes, and as prolonged face-to-face contact would be needed, this is not one of the main routes of transmission for the monkeypox virus.

Sexual intercourse is thought to expose people to a higher risk of contracting the disease as, although it is not known to be sexually transmitted, the close physical contact involved means exposure is more likely.

A majority of the cases seen so far have been in gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Professor David Heymann, the World Health Organisation’s former assistant director-general for health security and environment, is reported to have said a leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves in Europe.

Eluned Morgan speaking at a press conference. Welsh Government

What is the level of risk?

The type of monkeypox involved in the outbreak is a West African variety said to be fatal in only one per cent of cases.

Health officials said that while the outbreak is “significant and concerning”, the risk to the UK population remains low.

No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak beyond Africa.

Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia, an expert in epidemiology of emerging infectious disease, told the PA news agency it is “extremely unlikely” monkeypox will become a pandemic.

When did monkeypox arrive in Britain?

The first case connected to the current outbreak was recorded in England on May 7 2022.

Scotland recorded its first case on May 23, while Wales and Northern Ireland confirmed cases on May 26.

What is the current public health guidance for monkeypox?

The latest advice from the UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA) urges those with monkeypox to avoid close contact with others until their lesions have healed and any scabs have dried off.

People who have had contact with someone with the disease should also be risk assessed and may be told to isolate for 21 days if necessary.

The UKHSA also said people with suspected or confirmed monkeypox who need to travel in order to seek care should make sure any lesions are covered by clothing, wear a face covering, and avoid public transport where possible.

They should also abstain from sex from the first signs of symptoms and make sure to use condoms for eight weeks after infection.

People should be alert to any new rashes or lesions, which would appear like spots, ulcers or blisters, on any part of their body.

People, particularly those who are gay, bisexual or who have sex with men, are urged to call NHS 111 or a sexual health centre immediately if they have a rash with blisters and have been in close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox in the past three weeks.

Those with symptoms are also being asked to call 111 if they have been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks or are a man who has sex with men.

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2 years ago

No doubt our English friends will venture maskless to our climes with McDonalds, Carling and, this time, MONKEYPOX.

Just as they brought typhoid and lime disease during the colonisation.

Cer i grafu has an added pertinence, me thinks

2 years ago
Reply to  Cynan


2 years ago
Reply to  Cynan

I mean apart from fat Anglo racists who even uses the Elizabethan term “me thinks” and doesn’t even know it is a single word with no spaces?
DO YOUR JOB. Look at the different email addresses if you are confounded by the fact the worm copied my screen name. Or check out his IP address to check where he is posting from, his ISP or VPN.
Would you like me to show you how to use your system efficiently?

Last edited 2 years ago by Cynan
2 years ago
Reply to  Cynan

Nation.Cymru! I implore you.

We, the superior patriots are not only physically, but now cybernetically under attract from obese Anglo monkey pestilance.

Oh must one beg for cleansing?

Doctor Trousers
2 years ago
Reply to  Cynan

Yeah they need to sort this out, it’s not that hard to introduce a system where people have to log in to use a specific username.
You just need to look at the rest of the internet to see that only a very minimal amount of people are put off commenting by having to log in first. The conversation here is generally of a fairly high quality, it’s worth putting a bit of effort in to protecting it.

2 years ago

Agreed. When ponces like this child turn up, it’s an effort for moderators to flush them from the system. But not much of an effort. If you don’t, your comments system gets as bad as the BBC’s dire “Have Your Say” which is now just another racist fascist echo chamber. By permitting the clone to stay, this is also the way Nation Cymru will go. I’m now on the verge of ditching this site altogether and the childish troll will just go be a parasite for someone else. It makes Nation.Cymru seem very amateurish that they claim to have moderation,… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Cynan

Well years ago I told Ifan, again and again to install a pay wall, but he’s a liberal who thinks people should have freedom, even though trolls are hanging off the curtains, lol! So it’s a good larf…………..

Last edited 2 years ago by I.Humphrys
Doctor Trousers
2 years ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

You don’t need a paywall. Just a system where a specific username requires a password and is confirmed via an email address.
That’s it. No real names, no phone numbers, no dates of birth, just something that ensures that anyone can’t just come in and use the same username as a regular poster. It’s how pretty much every comment section works.
It’s totally necessary somewhere like this that’s being targeted by people with an agenda to portray the pro-independence movement as hateful and anti-english.

2 years ago

Actually you know what? Phuck it!
I’m out! Nation.Cymru “moderators” fail to act on childish trolling on this page. Different opinions are one thing, but when you permit “cloning” then your entire Comments section just becomes a playground for passive aggressive babies to schytte everywhere.
It’s a shame because I like the site, but your wilful inaction against trolling makes it an unpleasant and worthless place.
Good luck to all the other posters when the trickle of Reddit schytposters turns into a flood when they realis this site is COMPLETELY unmoderated

2 years ago

Globalism has caused us too many problems. Nation states will make a comeback.

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