More bites needed to halt second wave of monkeypox despite falling infection numbers

More bites needed to halt second wave of monkeypox despite falling infection numbers, experts warn

  • Just over half of those eligible for the jab came forward during the UK deployment
  • It mainly affects gay men and is transmitted through close physical contact.
  • Monkeypox can kill. Last week it was announced that two men in the US had died

The UK could be hit with a second wave of monkeypox cases if vaccination efforts do not improve, experts have warned.

While the number of infections has fallen, doctors believe this is due to changes in sexual behavior rather than the success of the vaccination campaign.

Just over half of those eligible for the vaccine, which offers strong protection against the painful blistering disease, have come forward.

The condition primarily affects gay men and is spread through close physical contact – usually sex.

In some cases, monkeypox can kill. Last week it was announced that two men in the United States had died after contracting the disease.

Just over half of those eligible for the jab (above), which offers strong protection against the painful blistering disease, have come forward

Doctors involved in the UK rollout say attempts to get more men to come forward for the vaccine have been hampered by a lack of government support.

Vaccinators involved in the deployment this summer have now been redeployed to help administer flu, polio and MMR vaccines, and Covid boosters. This means that many clinics do not have enough staff to offer the monkeypox vaccine.

We’re just not ready for another case spike

Earlier this month, NHS England launched a website which would help men find the nearest monkeypox vaccination clinic. But doctors say many advertised clinics are unable to offer injections.

“Many sites outside of London are not ready or able to provide monkeypox vaccines,” says Dr John McSorley, sexual health consultant at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust. “The NHS promotes this website, but most clinics on it will not be able to deliver.”

According to the UK Health Security Agency, there were 12 new cases of monkeypox last week, down from a peak of around 150 new cases each week in August.

But experts say that could quickly change. “Cases are down because people are worried about catching it and having less sex,” says Dr Claire Dewsnap from the UK Association for Sexual Health and HIV.

“We know this because new cases of other sexual diseases like syphilis are also declining. But people will revert to their old sexual patterns, so we have to be ready for another spike in monkeypox cases. Given the state of the vaccine rollout, we are nowhere near ready for that.

An NHS spokesperson said: “More than 100 clinics have chosen to be part of the site search to ensure those not in contact with sexual health services can be protected.”

German monkeypox patient whose nose started rotting because his HIV and syphilis ravaged his immune system

The nose of a monkeypox patient has started to rot in one of the most shocking cases documented in the current outbreak.

The 40-year-old, from Germany, went to his GP with a red patch on his nose which was initially described as sunburn.

But within three days, the skin on his nose began to die off and darken, leaving him with a painful, swollen scab.

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Nose of 40-year-old monkeypox patient started rotting due to undiagnosed HIV infection in Germany, doctors say

Around the same time, pus-filled white patches developed all over his body, which was especially bad on his penis and around his mouth.

A PCR test confirmed he was infected with monkeypox and he was taken to hospital and given antiviral treatment.

Further tests revealed the patient, who has not been named, also had undiagnosed syphilis and HIV. He told doctors he had never been tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) before.

The man was given medicine to treat the infections and the lesions dried up, but his nose has “only partially improved”.

Doctors said his case became so severe because untreated HIV left him immunocompromised, putting him at greater risk of necrosis.

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