Monkeypox – what you need to know

posted by: Don Leslie

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are a number of cases in the UK. That number is rising.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact [including sexual contact] with someone with Monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks. Similarly to COVID the virus can be present initially without symptoms and still be able to be passed on to close contacts.

The risk to the UK population is low. However, recent cases are predominantly in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). We are advising MSM to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service if they have relevant symptoms:

Symptoms
• Unusual new rashes or lesions on the body, especially if they have originate on the face or genitals and spread
• Fever
• Muscle aches
• Chills and exhaustion
• Headaches
• Swollen lymph nodes

Actions you can take:

If you think you have Monkeypox symptoms and are from a known current at-risk group:

  • Avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you know that this is not Monkeypox.
  • Contact NHS 111 immediately and your enquiry will be treated sensitively and confidentially
  • You can also contact your local sexual health service for advice


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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info