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Monkeypox infections have increased four times in the last week across the UK and why the WHO is changing the name of the disease to avoid stigma

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The notifiable diseases report has shown that monkeypox cases have increased by four times since the last weekly report, bringing the total to 12 cases in the UK.

Last week there were three cases in Leicester, Buckinghamshire and Inner London.

This week cases have spread to Outer London, Essex, Surrey, Middlesbrough, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Thurrock, Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester.

There have been a handful of confirmed cases of monkeypox. Picture: Alamy/PA (56964911)
There have been a handful of confirmed cases of monkeypox. Picture: Alamy/PA (56964911)

There have been no cases noted in West Norfolk or Lynn.

Monkeypox is a rare infection that's mainly found in parts of west or central Africa. There have been some recent cases in the UK, but the risk of catching it is low.

The NHS website says: "Although more people have been diagnosed with it recently, only a small number of people in the UK have had monkeypox and the risk remains low.

"You're extremely unlikely to have monkeypox if:you have not been in close contact (such as touching their skin or sharing bedding) with someone who has monkeypox or has monkeypox symptoms or you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa.

"Anyone can get monkeypox. Currently most cases have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men, so it's particularly important to be aware of the symptoms if you're in these groups."

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:a high temperature,a headache,muscle aches,backache,swollen glands,shivering (chills),exhaustion.

A rash usually appears one to five days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals.

There has been recent controversy surrounding the name of the disease, as it has been deemed stigmatising.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday announced it will re-name monkeypox over concerns from scientists that the name is "discriminatory and stigmatising."

In response to the growing outbreak and its subsequent media coverage, a group of over 30 scientists last week published a position paper saying there is an "urgent need" to change the name of the monkeypox virus, including its viral clades (West Africa and Congo Basin), to combat racism and stigma.

The paper said:"The prevailing perception in the international media and scientific literature is that monkeypox virus is endemic in people in some African countries," the scientists wrote. "In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing."

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