Figures published today show there have been 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in Scotland since 23 May 2022. This is an increase of eight cases since our last report.
Currently most cases have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men, and are primarily associated with recent European travel. The individuals are receiving care and treatment appropriate to their condition in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance. Close contacts of the cases are being identified and provided with health information, advice and, where appropriate, vaccination.
Vaccinations are being offered to close contacts of those who have monkeypox, however, this week on Tuesday 21 June, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a strategy (external website), endorsed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), that recommends that some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox should be offered pre-exposure vaccinations to help control the recent outbreak of the virus.
The Scottish Government has subsequently confirmed Scotland will also adopt this approach. Full details on how eligible people can get vaccinated will be set out by Scottish Government in due course.
Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director at PHS, said:
“The latest figures published today show a marginal increase in the number of cases seen in Scotland and we are working closely with colleagues across the UK to identify and support those affected.
“Although most cases are mild and case numbers are relatively low in Scotland, it is important that people are aware of the signs and symptoms. This is particularly important as we come into the Summer months where there are likely to be large social gatherings.
“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they have any concerns”.
PHS continues to work with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to monitor and respond to potential and confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.
Monkeypox is a viral infection only recently detected in the UK. It is generally a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone already infected and with symptoms of monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks.
Information on the symptoms of and treatment for monkeypox are available on NHS inform (external website).