Five men and two other people, both living in the same household, have contracted the infectious disease monkeypox. The known places of infection are London and the north-east of England, according to the British health authority UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
The authority explained that all four new cases involved men who had sexual contact with other men. In these cases, there were no trips to countries where the disease was endemic.
According to the British authorities, monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people, but mainly through close physical contact. The authority estimates the risk for the general population to be low.
Although severe courses cannot be ruled out, the disease can usually be classified as mild. Patients are healthy again after a few weeks. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), fatalities were only observed in children under the age of eight. They last occurred in two percent of infected children and within three weeks.
The West African variant of the virus was found in the four recently reported infected men, which was milder than the Central African one. None of the men had traveled to a country where the disease was more common.
The RKI classifies monkeypox as a rare viral disease that is probably transmitted to humans through close contact or meat consumption from rodents. As the name suggests, monkeypox is an infectious disease that is also known to affect primates.
The disease is usually found only in west and central Africa and the symptoms are similar to smallpox (fever, rash in the throat, swollen lymph nodes, smallpox-like rash). Vaccination against monkeypox is not currently approved in Germany.
The communication from the British infection control agency states that they are working closely with the NHS health service and international partners to identify possible further cases. Homosexual and bisexual men in particular were asked to look out for unusual rashes or injuries on their bodies, especially in the genital area. Anyone who notices any of these abnormalities should contact a sexual health service immediately.