Another 77 people in the UK have been diagnosed with monkeypox, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 302.
Seventy-three of the new patients were in England, with two each in Scotland and Wales, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
No further details were given but gay and bisexual men ‘remain disproportionately affected’, officials said. London remains the epicentre of the outbreak.
Since the first case was detected on May 6, 287 people have been diagnosed with the tropical virus in England, ten in Scotland, three in Wales and two in Northern Ireland.
Britons who develop a new rash, lesions or blisters are being urged to phone ahead before visiting sexual health clinics to limit the virus’ spread.
Men who have sex with men, or people returning from western or central Africa who develop symptoms are being told to stay extra vigilant.
It comes as scientific modellers today warned the smallpox-like virus could continue to circulate outside of Africa until next year.
There is also some concern among experts the virus will spill into animal populations and become endemic, as is the case in parts of Africa.
The UK has logged 302 infections, the most out of any other country, followed by Spain (190), Portugal (143), Canada (80) and Germany (66)
Officials are urging gay and bisexual men to be aware of new lesions, rashes or scabs and get in contact with a sexual health clinic
The infection often starts with small bumps that scab over and are contagious
Epidemiologists based in Washington DC simulated a monkeypox outbreak in a population of 50million people, mimicking that of a high-income European country.
They calculated how the virus would spread if three, 30 or 300 cases were originally brought into a country and no measures were taken to control its transmission.
The team estimated the initial cases would go onto infect 18, 118 and 402 more people, who would spread the virus further.
Their model estimated the outbreak would go on for 23 to 37 weeks, which would take the current outbreak to up to next January.
Tracing the close contacts of cases could drive down transmission by up to 72 per cent and vaccinating close contacts would reduce cases by up to 89 per cent.
Following both monkeypox curbs could reduce the duration of the outbreak by 60 to 76 per cent, the researchers found.
Both strategies are already being used in the UK.
Writing in a pre-print published online, the US experts said: ‘Our model results align with prior research on monkeypox outbreaks — whether in endemic or nonendemic countries — that demonstrated the low human-to-human transmissibility of the virus and its comparatively low potential to result in large-scale, heavy-burden outbreaks.’
The researchers noted that a ‘strong public health response’ can ‘substantially reduce’ the number of cases and duration of the outbreak.
They agreed that the global public health risk is ‘moderate’ and the virus should be contained ‘fairly rapidly’.
Teams from the UKHSA are contacting high-risk contacts of confirmed cases and advising them to self-isolate at home for three weeks and avoid contact with children.
Officials said they have linked the outbreak back to ‘gay bars, saunas and the use of dating apps in the UK and abroad’.
MailOnline revealed last month that the world’s biggest gay dating app Grindr had alerted to users of monkeypox symptoms.
Epidemiologists from research institute RTI International in Washington, DC, modelled the monkeypox outbreak in a simulated population of 50million people. They calculated how the virus would spread if three, 30 or 300 cases (orange, green and red dots) were originally brought into a country and no measures were taken to control its transmission (graph A and D). The team estimated that 18, 118 and 402 people, respectively, would go on to catch monkeypox. But contact tracing cases could drive down transmission by up to 72 per cent (graph B and E) and vaccinating close contacts (graph C and F) would reduce cases by up to 89 per cent
Both confirmed cases and close contacts in the UK are being offered the Imvanex vaccine to form a buffer of immune people around a confirmed case to limit the spread of the disease.
The strategy, known as ring vaccination, has been used in previous monkeypox outbreaks and is also being carried out in some EU countries.
The jab is thought to reduce a person’s chance of catching monkeypox by up to 85 per cent.
Analysis by the UKHSA last week revealed that more than 60 per cent of domestic infections have been among gay and bisexual men.
Almost nine in 10 were based in the epicentre London and only two cases have been women.
Most of the UK’s infections — 87 per cent — were among people aged 20 to 49.
And the majority of UK patients caught the virus in the UK rather than abroad.
Monkeypox, which was first discovered in lab monkeys in the late 1950s, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.
It can kill up to 10 per cent of people it infects. But the milder strain causing the current outbreak kills one in 100 — similar to when Covid first hit.
No monkeypox deaths linked with the ongoing outbreak have yet been reported.
The virus has an incubation period of anywhere up to 21 days, meaning it can take three weeks for symptoms to appear.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body — including the genitals. The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off.
More than 900 cases have been reported worldwide. Britain has logged 302 infections, the most out of any other country, followed by Spain (190), Portugal (143), Canada (80) and Germany (66).
The UKHSA has told people to wear condoms during sex for eight weeks after clearing the virus.
They are also been ordered to abstain from sex or close contact with others ‘until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off’.
Experts have warned that monkeypox could spread to pets and wildlife and become endemic in Europe.
In Africa, where monkeypox is well established, the virus is often in rodents including squirrels and hedgehogs.
The UKHSA is already quarantining pet guinea pigs, rats and mice of infected people for three weeks.
Other household pets like cats and dogs should be kept isolated at home but receive regular vet checks to ensure they are not infected.
Timeline of monkeypox
1958: Monkeypox was first discovered when an outbreak of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys kept for research.
1970: The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the infection has been reported in a number of central and western African countries since then.
2003: A Monkeypox outbreak occurred in the US after rodents were imported from Africa. Cases were reported in both humans and pet prairie dogs. All the human infections followed contact with an infected pet and all patients recovered.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2018: Monkeypox appeared in the UK for the first time in a Nigerian naval officer who was visiting Cornwall for training. They were treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018: A second UK monkeypox case is confirmed in Blackpool. There is no link with the first case in Cornwall. Instead, the patient is though to have picked up the infection when travelling in Nigeria. They were treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018: A third person is diagnosed with monkeypox. The individual worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and treated the second Monkeypox case. They received treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
DECEMBER 3, 2019: A patient was diagnosed with monkeypox in England, marking the fourth ever case.
MAY 25, 2021: Two cases of monkeypox were identified in north Wales. Both patients had travel links to Nigeria.
A third person living with one of the cases was diagnosed and admitted to hospital, bringing the total number ever to seven.
MAY 7, 2022: A person was diagnosed with Monkeypox in England after recently travelling to Nigeria. The person received care at the expert infectious disease unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
MAY 14, 2022: Two more cases were confirmed in London. The infected pair lived in the same household but had not been in contact with the case announced one week earlier.
One of these individuals received care at the expert infectious disease unit at St Mary’s Hospital in London. The other isolated at home and did not need hospital treatment.
MAY 16, 2022: Four more cases were announced, bringing the UK total to seven. Three of these cases are in London, while one of their contacts is infected in the north east of England.
The spate of cases was described as ‘unusual’ and ‘surprising’ as experts warn gay and bisexual men to look out for new rashes.
MAY 19, 2022: Two more cases were revealed, with no travel links or connections to other cases. The cases were based in the South East and London. Fears began to grow that infections are going undetected.
MAY 20, 2022: Eleven more cases are announced, meaning Britain’s monkeypox outbreak have doubled to 20. Minsters discuss the possibility of a public health campaign to warn gay men the disease may be more prevalent for them
MAY 23, 2022: Scotland logs its first ever monkeypox case and 36 more infection announced in England. It brings the UK total to 57.
MAY 24, 2022: England logs another 14 cases, bringing the UK total to 71.
MAY 25, 2022: Another seven infections are spotted in England, meaning 78 cases have been detected in the UK.
MAY 26, 2022: Wales and Northern Ireland detect their first monkeypox case in the recent outbreak, while Scotland spots two more cases and England logs eight, bringing UK total to 90.
MAY 27, 2022: England detects 16 more cases, meaning 106 people in Britain have confirmed infections.
MAY 29, 2022: World Health Organization (WHO) says risk of monkeypox is ‘moderate’, citing concerns about virus infecting children and immunosuppressed people if it becomes more widespread.
MAY 30, 2022: The UK detects another 71 monkeypox cases, bringing the UK total to 179. Cases jumped 70 per cent in just three days.
MAY 31, 2022: Eleven infections are spotted across the UK, bringing the infection toll to 190.
JUNE 1, 2022: Another five cases are spotted in England and one is detected in Scotland, meaning the UK has now logged 196.
JUNE 2, 2022: The UK spots another 11 cases in England, bringing the UK total to 207.
JUNE 3, 2022: A further 18 cases are logged – 15 in England and three in Scotland, bringing Britain’s monkeypox infection toll to 225.
JUNE 6, 2022: Seventy-three cases are spotted in England, 2 in Scotland and 2 in Wales, bringing the UK total to 302.