British monkeypox cases rise to 90 as doctors warn of skin symptoms

The UK Health Safety Agency has described the outbreak of monkeypox around the world as “significant and worrying”, with cases in every country in the UK

A woman holding a vial
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has described the outbreak as “significant and of concern” (file photo).

Today 10 more cases of monkeypox were confirmed across the UK, bringing the total to 90.

The latest cases (as of May 25) bring the total number of cases confirmed in England since May 7 to 85.

There are three confirmed cases in Scotland – two involving people who have recently traveled abroad, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which is at the forefront of protecting the UK public from infectious diseases and other health threats, has described the outbreak as “significant and worrying”.

The body has issued symptoms to look out for and says the risk to the general population remains low.

On Wednesday, the number of monkeypox cases rose by seven, while 14 were reported the previous day.

The latest figures come as the virus spreads to two new areas of the UK, with the first case confirmed in Wales and one person in Northern Ireland reportedly hospitalized with the disease.

The blistered palms of a monkeypox patient



dr Giri Shankar, director of health protection at Public Health Wales, said: “We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and are ready to respond to cases of monkeypox in Wales .

“The case will be dealt with appropriately. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details about the patient are disclosed.

“Everyone is being asked to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, but it is important for gay and bisexual men to be vigilant as it is thought to spread through sexual networks.

“Anyone with an unusual rash or lesion on any part of their body should contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health service if they have any concerns.”

The main symptoms of monkeypox


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

UKHSA health protection teams are contacting people deemed to be high-risk contacts of confirmed cases and are advising those who have been risk assessed and remain healthy to isolate at home for up to 21 days.

UKHSA has also purchased over 20,000 extra doses of a safe smallpox vaccine called Imvanex (supplied by Bavarian Nordic) and this is being offered to identified close contacts of people diagnosed with monkeypox to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and serious illness.

The virus is usually found in West and Central Africa.

Symptoms are generally mild and the disease is spread through close contact with someone already infected, and most people recover within a few weeks.

UKHSA teams have been tracing contacts of people with a confirmed case and are advising those at highest risk to isolate for 21 days.

Close contacts are also offered a smallpox vaccine to reduce the risk of symptoms and serious illness.

It follows a study published by the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases that throws cold water on the theory that monkeypox patients are no longer contagious once their lesions have cleared.

Close contacts are also offered a smallpox vaccine to reduce the risk of symptoms and serious illness (file photo).



The research looked at seven people who contracted monkeypox – a close relative of the smallpox virus – in the UK between 2018 and 2021, with all cases linked to Africa.

None of the patients died or required intensive care treatment, but some were hospitalized as a precaution to prevent onward transmission.

co-author dr. Hugh Adler, research associate at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “We can see that the virus remains positive in the throat and blood for the duration of the illness and perhaps even longer after the rash has cleared.

“We don’t know that this means these patients are more infectious or longer infectious, but it does inform us about the biology of the disease.”

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