Guidelines following the Monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are several cases in the UK.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, passed on by very close contact with someone with monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.

The virus can be passed on if there is close contact between people and the risk to the UK population is low. Monkeypox can affect anyone, and it can be passed on through close physical contact like kissing, skin-to-skin, sex or sharing things like clothing, bedding and towels. However, recent cases have been detected in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. We advise this group in particular to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

The Signs and symptoms of Monkeypox are –

  • Recent unexpected/unusual spots, ulcers or blisters anywhere on your body
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Swollen glands

Other infections such as Syphilis may also exhibit these symptoms so if you are experiencing any on these following a close contact please contact us on 0300 003 1212.

Contact the Essex Sexual Health Service if you have a rash with blisters and you’ve been either:

  • in close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past 3 weeks
  • to West or Central Africa in the past 3 weeks

Tell the person you speak to if you’ve had close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox, or if you’ve recently travelled to central or west Africa.

Please do not attend any of our sexual health clinics without contacting us first. We do not run a walk in service so we will turn you away and ask you to contact us on 0300 003 1212. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people until you’ve been told what to do.

If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse please call NHS 111 for further advice.

Please remember that Monkeypox is rare infection and within the UK numbers are low. For the majority of people they will recover in a few weeks.

You’re extremely unlikely to have monkeypox if:

  • You have not been in close contact (such as touching their skin or sharing bedding) with someone who has monkeypox or has monkeypox symptoms.
  • You have not recently travelled to west or central Africa.