South Tyneside health chiefs keeping 'very close' tabs on 'evolving' monkeypox situation

South Tyneside health chiefs are working “very closely” on the “emerging and evolving situation” around monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a rare infection mainly found in parts of west or central Africa, but there have been a rising number of cases recorded in the UK over recent weeks.

The latest meeting of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body heard how a great deal of work is being done around the issue in the area to ensure necessary precautions are taken.

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As of an online meeting, which took place on May 26, there had been one case recorded in a hospital in the North East and North Cumbria region.

The monkeypox virus.

Jeanette Scott, executive director of nursing, quality and safety at the CCG, said monkeypox was an “emerging and evolving situation” nationally which they were following.

She said: “We are working very closely with the national bodies for public protection and we’re also working with our local providers, so hospitals and also information for primary care.

“At the moment it’s very difficult because it is emerging and the information is changing daily and we’re waiting for more guidance coming out.

“It’s just to make people aware that there’s an awful lot of work going on about it, the number has increased significantly nationally.”

Speaking at the meeting, she added the latest figures at the time were that there had been around 89 cases nationally, which has since risen to approaching more than 170, according to reports.

NHS advice states although more people have been diagnosed with it recently, only a small number of people in the UK have had monkeypox and the risk remains low.

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It can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person, and can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles, with a rash usually appearing later.

New guidance is advising anyone with the virus to abstain from sex while they have symptoms.

They are also told to use condoms for eight weeks after an infection as a precaution.

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The risk to the population is low, but people should be alert to new rashes or lesions, the UKHSA says.