Latest monkeypox update
First published on 22 July 2022
- Health protection
Figures published today show there have been 54 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in Scotland since 23 May 2022. This includes an additional three cases since our last report on 18 July 2022.
Any additional cases of monkeypox will be updated on the our monkeypox webpage.
Currently most cases in Scotland are in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men, and are primarily associated with recent travel to London or Europe.
The individuals are receiving care and treatment appropriate to their condition in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance. Close contacts of the cases are being identified and provided with health information, advice and, where appropriate, vaccination.
The wider pre-exposure programme has started in some areas of Scotland, with vaccination being offered to some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure and a small number of healthcare workers who work in high-risk settings. Full details on how eligible people can get vaccinated will be set out shortly by Scottish Government.
On Tuesday 19 July, the guidance for close contacts (external website) was updated in response to data that shows a relatively small number of close contacts have gone on to develop monkeypox, as well as a lack of evidence of transmission outside of close intimate or sexual contact. As a result, close contacts no longer need to isolate at home if they don’t have symptoms. It means the latest guidance is proportionate to the latest transmission risks identified and is in line with advice from the WHO, other European countries and the CDC.
Monkeypox is a viral infection only recently detected in the UK. It is generally a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone already infected and with symptoms of monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks.
Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director at Public Health Scotland (PHS), said:
“The recent change in guidance for close contacts is reflective of what we currently know about the transmission routes of the virus. Predominantly, it is being spread through close skin-to-skin activity.
“The incubation period for monkeypox however is up to 21 days, so if you are aware that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, please do take additional precautions during this time.
“These include avoiding close skin-to-skin contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or sexual contact, even if you don’t have any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately and contact your GP or local sexual health clinic”.
PHS continues to work with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to monitor and respond to potential and confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.
Information on the symptoms of and treatment for monkeypox are available on NHS inform (external website).