• Health Europe recommends "reviewing the availability of vaccines" in the face of the increase in monkeypox outbreaks

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The United Kingdom

has added another 36 monkeypox infections in recent days, bringing

the number of confirmed cases to 56 since the alarm went off on May 7

.

The outbreak is active in the community and is spreading particularly among gay and bisexual men, with no obvious or direct connections to West Africa.

"A notable proportion of recent cases in the UK and Europe

have been in gay and bisexual men, so we particularly urge these men to be vigilant for symptoms

," said Susan Hopkins, medical adviser to the United Kingdom Health and Safety Administration (UKHSA).

The agency has activated the high-risk contact tracing system for infected people, who are recommended to

confine themselves to their homes for 21 days.

In addition, in most situations, they are offered the option of being vaccinated against this zoonotic infection, which is relatively rare in Europe.

Until yesterday, a thousand doses of Imvanex had been issued, the serum approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat smallpox.

More than 3,500 doses remain in reserve on the island, according to the British authorities.

The increase in cases of the 20 confirmed last Friday was taken for granted.

In the morning, the Scottish Public Health Agency (PHS) announced the first diagnosis of monkeypox in the autonomous territory, although it did not release details about the social, sexual or cultural background of the sick person.

"

We have a very well-established and robust infection control protocol

to deal with such cases of communicable disease, and we will enforce it," said Nick Phin, PHS chief medical and scientific officer.

The various health authorities in the UK are cooperating and exchanging information in order to investigate the sources of transmission of the infection.

At the same time, and as explained by the Scottish expert, the close contacts of a monkeypox patient are provided with information and medical advice,

which may include the offer of inoculation

.

The UK has not granted any national license for a specific monkeypox vaccine.

But

the UKHSA and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) "recommend" using Imvanex

, which contains modified Ankara cowpox virus, which the European agency approved in 2013. The antiviral is made by the Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic and It had already been administered in the UK to contain previous outbreaks of this zoonotic infection.

Current stocks of the serum at UK centers expire in September this year.

The

UKHSA recommends giving a dose of the vaccine "as soon as possible" to close contacts

of confirmed patients, although effectiveness in mitigating the impact of the disease may last up to 14 days after exposure.

In addition, two doses of the serum are offered at an interval of four weeks to medical personnel who are going to attend or are in the care of infected people.

"Basically

it is a very rare disease and so far the consequences do not seem very serious

, but it is important to be vigilant," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The conservative president did not provide details about the points or chains of transmission of the cases detected in the United Kingdom.

In any case, experts do not doubt that the virus is spreading in the community,

without obvious connections of those affected with citizens who have traveled to Great Britain from a country in West Africa

, the African region with which the outbreak is associated. monkeypox identified on the island.

Recommendations in the European Union

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) yesterday published a new review of the monkeypox outbreaks, which have spread across several EU countries, and recommended that Member States "focus on rapid identification, management, contact tracing and notification of new cases of monkeypox." In addition, he said that countries "must update their contact tracing mechanisms, diagnostic capacity for orthopoxviruses and review the availability of vaccines against smallpox, antivirals and personal protective equipment for health professionals".

From

May 15 to yesterday, according to the ECDC

,

a total of 67 cases of monkeypox have been reported in nine Member States (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden)

.

According to the European body, currently diagnosed cases of monkeypox in humans occur mainly among men who have sex with men, suggesting that transmission can take place during intimate relationships.

"Transmission can occur through close contact of mucosa or non-intact skin with infectious material from lesions, or through large respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact," the ECDC notes.

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