Public health chief urges people to be alert as first case of suspected monkeypox found in Wigan

Wigan’s director of public health has urged people to look out for any symptoms of monkeypox, as the first suspected case is reported in the borough.

By Gaynor Clarke
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 12:30 pm

Cases of the disease are rising across the country and the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency shows a report of a case in Wigan.

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First suspected case of monkeypox is found in Wigan

Monkeypox is usually a mild illness, but it can become more severe in some people.

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A suspected case of monkeypox has been found in Wigan (Photo courtesy of CDC/Getty Images)

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director of public health said: “Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are currently several cases in the UK.

"The virus can be passed on if there is close contact between people and the risk to our population is low.

“Monkeypox can affect anyone, and it can be passed on through close physical contact like kissing, skin-to-skin, sex or sharing things like clothing, bedding and towels.

"However, recent cases have been detected in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health for Wigan Council

"We advise this group in particular to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

"All residents should contact a sexual health clinic if you have a rash with blisters and you’ve been either: in close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have monkeypox (even if they’ve not been tested yet) in the past three weeks; or to west or central Africa in the past three weeks.”

Last week an expert told a World Health Organisation (WHO) briefing that global Pride events were an opportunity to spread public health messages about monkeypox and must not be cancelled.

Steve Taylor, board member at EuroPride, said: “We are reassured by the clear statement from WHO that major events including Pride should not be cancelled or curtailed because of the outbreak.

“We have been working with WHO over recent weeks to develop our messages and we will encourage Pride organisations and event producers across Europe to use their events to raise awareness of the facts about monkeypox so that people can protect themselves.”