The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced that another 71 cases of monkeypox have been identified in England over the weekend, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 179.
New guidance advises those with the virus to abstain from sexual intercourse while they have symptoms.
People who are infected with infection are also told to use condoms for eight weeks after being infected as a precaution.
The risk to the population is low, but people should be alert to new rashes or lesions, according to the UK Health Protection Agency.
A total of 172 cases have been confirmed in England; four were reported in Scotland, two were reported in Northern Ireland, and one was reported in Wales.
People who have tested positive for the virus and their close contacts are being told to remain in isolation at home for 21 days.
People who have monkey pox should avoid contact with others until all lesions—or blisters—have healed and scabs have dried off.
People who have contracted the virus are now being advised to abstain from sexual activity while they have symptoms.
The CDC has issued new guidelines concerning sexual transmission of monkeypox. While there is no evidence that the virus can be spread through sexual fluids, people confirmed to have the virus are advised to use condoms for eight weeks after infection as a precaution.
People with confirmed cases and their close contacts should take extra care to avoid spread of the disease if they need to leave the house for health reasons.
This means making sure any skin lesions are covered by clothes, wearing a face covering in public and staying away from public transport.
Protection for staff
Dr. Ruth Milton, monkeypox strategic response director at the UK Health Services Authority, said: “The highest risk of transmission is through direct contact with someone who has monkeypox.”
The risk to the UK population remains low, according to the Health Protection Agency. Anyone with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body should immediately contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service.
New CDC guidance recommends that healthcare workers who are pregnant, people with severely weakened immune systems, and those caring for people suspected or confirmed to have monkeypox should not care for patients.
The guidance says that staff working with confirmed cases should wear protective equipment, including FFP3 respirators, aprons, eye protection and gloves as a minimum.
Those working with possible cases are recommended to wear surgical face masks, fluid repellent gowns and gloves, and eye protection.
Officials in the United Kingdom have purchased over 20,000 doses of a smallpox vaccine called Imvanex.
The vaccine is being offered to close contacts of those diagnosed with the virus in an attempt to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and severe illness.