AN urgent monkeypox warning has been issued amid fears the virus could become endemic in the UK.
Around 2,468 infections have been confirmed across the country – with at least 77 ‘highly probable’ cases.
An endemic state refers to a disease or condition regularly found amongst a population.
While medics at the UK Health Security have urged Brits to stay calm, the US this week declared a public health emergency over the virus.
The declaration came after the World Health Organization (WHO) also called the outbreak a global emergency.
Now, both politicians and LGBT+ groups have demanded the government increase its efforts to help curb the spread.
Vaccines have already been rolled out in some parts, but the group has said this now must become a priority.
In a letter penned to health secretary Steve Barclay, the group said: “We cannot afford to allow monkeypox to become endemic in the UK.
“Luckily, we have the tools required to stop this outbreak and prevent further risk to health now. We ask that you do so urgently.”
Signed by the LGBT+ groups for Conservatives, Labor, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Scottish National Party, along with sexual health charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust, the group said communication on the outbreak is key.
“We need clear, non-stigmatising messaging, delivered direct to GBMSM about the symptoms of monkeypox and what to do if you suspect you have the virus to inform and reassure people (rather than the current broadcast-to-all approach that constantly mentions GBMSM .
“Messaging must reach communities at high risk of acquiring monkeypox, through targeted messaging on apps, online and in the queer media.
“Vaccinating those most at risk of monkeypox must be a priority if we are to stand a chance of preventing the virus from becoming endemic in the UK.”
They added that there are ‘worries’ that vaccinations could become a driver of inequality – especially when there is an undersupply of jabs.
“It is time to get improved systems and more purchasing of this much-needed vaccine,” the said.
The Terrence Higgins Trust said urgent political action is needed to get hold of the rise in cases.
Vaccination experts have recommended that gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex.
In recent weeks, scientists have said new skin symptoms have been identified.
Typical signs of the illness usually include a fever – along with swelling of the lymph nodes.
But a new review of 185 cases published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found otherwise.
Medics have now stated that the most common signs of this outbreak are rare pseudo-pustules.
These are similar in appearance to pustules, with the main difference being that they are white and solid.
With standard pustules, most of the time you can scrape away the top layer of the lesion, in order to get to the pus.
Two deaths have now been recorded in Europe.
Spain has been particularly badly-hit by the disease, where health chiefs have recorded 4,298 cases so far.
Now medics have said more deaths are expected as the bug continues to spread.