Majority of UK’s 366 monkeypox cases are in London, health agency says | Monkeypox
Four-fifths of people in England who have been infected with monkeypox live in London, according to a survey by the UK Health Security Agency.
Of the cases surveyed, 99% of those infected are male and their average age is 38, the agency added after analyzing 336 of the 366 confirmed cases found in the UK since the outbreak began last month. .
The same overwhelming majority of cases – 99% – involve men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men, the UKHSA said. Interviews he conducted with 45 men with monkeypox specifically about their sexual health revealed that 44% had visited ‘on-site sex venues’ in the UK or overseas such as saunas, clubs of sex and darkrooms, while they incubated the infection .
Additionally, 64% had met new sexual partners during their incubation period through a dating app. Incubation lasts between five and 21 days.
Tracing all sexual partners of men who have contracted monkeypox will be difficult, the UKHSA admitted, as “most cases reported having had sexual contact with new or casual partners…whose contact details are n were not available for research”.
The UKHSA report is based on a careful review of the history of the 336 laboratory-confirmed cases that had been identified in the UK by June 8, including detailed questionnaires that 152 cases completed. That total rose to 366 on Friday.
“A high proportion of cases in England were known to be residents of London,” he said, adding that 224 of the 276 people they had a home address for lived in the capital.
In terms of gender, 311 of the 314 confirmed cases were men, including three women. They were between 32 and 44 years old.
“The results show that monkeypox is transmitted in geographically diffuse sexual networks,” the report adds. Of the 45 people surveyed, 98% had had sex with other men during the incubation period. Of this group, 60% had been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the previous year, 44% had had more than ten sexual partners in the previous three months, and the same proportion had had group sex for incubation of infection.
“The sexual networks involved in this outbreak are interconnected inside and outside the UK,” the UKHSA said. Among the 45 cases, 30% had had sex in a city outside their usual place of residence, 20% had participated in sexual activities abroad and 24% had had sex with men who did not reside not in the UK.
Health officials hope on-site sex venues will agree to implement ‘targeted interventions’ [which] would support outbreak control,” in an attempt to reduce the risk of onward transmission of the monkeypox virus.
The agency’s ‘early evidence and preliminary analysis’ also indicates that the number of cases detected so far means the outbreak in England is at Tier 2 out of four tiers. This is defined as “transmission within a defined subpopulation with a high number of close contacts”.
However, with the numbers rising, officials are watching for signs that it has reached level 3 – ‘transmission within multiple subpopulations or one larger subpopulation’.