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What to do if you have monkeypox symptoms – Kent Online

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13:19, 28 May 2022
 | Updated: 13:24, 28 May 2022
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Kent health chiefs have issued advice for anyone who develops monkeypox symptoms as the number of people affected creeps up.
There have now been a total of 101 confirmed cases of the new virus in England – but none yet in Kent.
Experts in the county are, however, urging people to be vigilant and know the symptoms, which include unusual rashes or lesions anywhere on the body.
Two clinics and dedicated phonelines have been set up for people to obtain advice or book an appointment specifically about monkeypox.
The Rubin Clinic in Maidstone can be reached on 07955 434087, and the Riverside Clinic at Gravesham Community Hospital can be contacted on 07955 434081.
The lines, which are only for queries related to monkeypox, are open between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.
It comes after Kent’s public health director said the outbreak of monkeypox in the UK is “not another Covid”.
Kent County Council’s public health director, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: “Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease and there are a number of cases rising in the UK.
“Usually, it is a mild illness spread by close contact. Most people recover within weeks.”
Monkeypox has been associated with travel from west Africa to Europe, with cases identified in Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Speaking this week, Dr Ghosh said the virus had come into the UK “suddenly” and “very quickly”, but there was a “lack of clarity” over the way the virus had been transmitted.
The first monkeypox case that came into the UK was “travel related”, but subsequent cases have not been obviously linked by travel into the country.
Yesterday (Friday), the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had detected 16 additional cases of monkeypox in England, taking the total to 101.
Dr Ghosh dismissed this being the start of another pandemic.
He said: “The UK Health Security Agency is very clear this is not another Covid taking place.”
Initial symptoms include rashes on the body, such as the face or genital area, along with fever, muscle aches, headaches and exhaustion.
Recent cases have been predominantly among gay and bisexual men, said Dr Ghosh.
In a message to Kent residents, he said: “If you think you have these symptoms contact NHS 111, or, call a sexual health clinic immediately.
“Avoid personal and sexual contact with others until you know this is not monkeypox.”
Meanwhile, latest figures show that coronavirus cases continue to rapidly fall across the county.
There is an average of 104 cases per 100,000 people, which represents a drop of 51 cases over the last seven days.
Dr Ghosh described the rate drop as a “steadily improving picture” with Covid.
He said: “The trend is definitely going in the right direction.”
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