2022-09-02| Trending

Monkeypox Cases Fall In The UK But A New Strain Of The Disease Emerges

by Max Heirich
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On September 2, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a report detailing the fall of Monkeypox cases in the United Kingdom. However, another report published the day prior detailed the emergence of a second strain of the disease in the country. 

Related Article: Just How Deadly is Monkeypox? Reported Death in Texas While Vaccine Production Ramps Up

Declining Cases Due To Vaccine Administration

By August 26, around 3,389 confirmed cases of monkeypox were present in the United Kingdom. However, newly reported cases fell from a peak seven-day average of 71.71 reported on July 26 to a low of 10.8 reported on August 29. Since August 11, there has been no record of the seven-day average rising above 30 new cases. 

A large part of this fall in daily new cases is due to the number of vaccines administered. The UKHSA reports the administration of 38,079 monkeypox vaccine doses. Of this total, 33,918 doses given were for pre-exposure. Medical professionals administered 2,169 doses due to close contact with active cases. 

Data shows that monkeypox primarily infects men, with over 3,174 confirmed male cases. In addition, data shows that the disease transmits through sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.
On the fall of cases and the spread of the virus, Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UKHSA, said, “It is encouraging that the number of new monkeypox cases in the UK continues to fall, however the outbreak in the UK and around the world is not over. Please remember to check yourself for symptoms such as rashes and blisters, particularly if you have had new sexual partners recently and before you have sex with new partners.”

However, the UKHSA’s report of declining new cases comes just after their announcement of a second monkeypox strain emerging in the UK. 

What Do We Know About The Second Monkeypox Strain?

In a post update, the UKHSA confirmed that an individual returning from a trip to West Africa had been diagnosed with a new strain of monkeypox. 

Genomic sequencing conducted by the UKHSA confirmed the second strain of the disease. The data gathered show that the new strain does not match the one circulating in the UK. 

The High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital is treating the patient per standing advice from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP). Though contact tracing of anyone who might’ve had close contact with the patient is underway, the UKHSA hasn’t identified any linked cases. 

On the new strain, Dr. Sophia Maki, Incident Director of the UKHSA, said, “We are working to contact the individuals who have had close contact with the case prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice. We remind everyone who is planning to travel to West and Central Africa to be alert for the symptoms of monkeypox and to call 111 if you have symptoms on your return.”

It is unknown how the emergence of the second strain will affect the fall of monkeypox cases in the United Kingdom.

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