Latest mpox cases a reminder that “the infection has not gone away”, says UK Health Security Agency

Graham Robson May 25, 2023

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging people to remain vigilant to mpox (monkeypox) ahead of the summer months, as the latest data shows an increase in mpox cases in London over the past few weeks.

In an interim epidemiological update published on May 25, a further ten cases of mpox have been diagnosed in the UK (reported between April 30 and May 25) since the last epidemiological update on May 4. This brings the total number of new cases in the UK since the beginning of the year to 20.

All the cases were diagnosed within London, with half of them in unvaccinated individuals and two in those who had only received one dose. Five of the cases acquired the infection in the UK, four are thought to have acquired the infection abroad and one remains under investigation.

According to UKHSA, vaccination has played a crucial role in protecting people and reducing case numbers. Those who are eligible but have not yet received two doses of the vaccine are being encouraged to come forward and book their first dose by June 16 and be booked in for their second dose by the end of July 2023.

Katy Sinka, Head of Sexually Transmitted Infections at UKHSA, said: “It is clear from these latest statistics that mpox has not gone away. While mpox infection is mild for many, it can cause severe symptoms for some so it’s important people remain alert to the risks. Vaccination is key to reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing further transmission. Uptake of first doses has been strong but only around a third of those who have received their first dose have had their second dose so far.

“The programme is coming to an end, so we strongly encourage everyone eligible to please come forward for a vaccination if you haven’t yet had one or two doses. Our aim is to eliminate this unpleasant disease from the UK entirely – vaccination and community action have worked very well to significantly reduce case numbers and we can’t let our guard down now.”

Everyone at highest risk from mpox is eligible for two doses of the vaccine; UKHSA data has shown that one dose of the vaccine offers 78% protection against the virus from 14 days after receiving it, and the second dose aims to provide longer term protection.

Those eligible for the vaccine include gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men who have multiple sexual partners, participate in group sex or attend sex on premises venues. Staff who work in these premises are also eligible.

To find your nearest mpox vaccination site, CLICK HERE. This link has been updated to include the latest clinics offering appointments.