Monkeypox: NHS issues warning to anyone who eats meat as UK cases rise

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The NHS has issued a warning to meat eaters amid a “significant and concerning” outbreak of monkeypox in the UK.

According to the NHS website, monkeypox can be spread by touching clothing, bedding or towels used by an infected person, touching monkeypox blisters or scabs or the coughs and sneezes of a person infected by the disease.

However, the infection can also be spread by animals and eating meat.

The website says: “Monkeypox can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa. It’s thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.

“You can catch monkeypox from an infected animal if you’re bitten or you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters or scabs.

“It may also be possible to catch monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching other products from infected animals (such as animal skin or fur).”

Calls for people to come forward for testing

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said: “Alongside reports of further cases being identified in other countries globally, we continue to identify additional cases in the UK.

“Thank you to everyone who has come forward for testing already and supported our contact tracing efforts – you are helping us limit the spread of this infection in the UK.

“Because the virus spreads through close contact, we are urging everyone to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions, and to contact a sexual health service if they have any symptoms.

“A notable proportion of recent cases in the UK and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men, so we are particularly encouraging these men to be alert to the symptoms.”

Symptoms of monkeypox in humans

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body.

Full list of symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.

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