Cases of monkeypox have continued to slowly spread in the UK over the past few weeks.

Yesterday (Monday, May 23) the number of confirmed cases in the UK more than doubled from 20 to 57, with 56 being in England and one in Scotland.

Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency and Public Health Wales each said they have had no confirmed cases.

Whilst cases are continuing to go upward how much of a risk is the disease to the average person?

What is the mortality rate for monkeypox?

Health officials said that while the outbreak is “significant and concerning”, the risk to the UK population remains low.

Public Health England has said that monkeypox does not spread easily and most patients recover within a few weeks, but it can cause severe illness in some people.

According to Healthline the strain that has been discovered in the UK has been "associated with a lower mortality rate" at around 1%.

Those at the highest risk of contracting the disease are being asked to self-isolate at home for 21 days, with others warned to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Transmission between people is occurring in the UK, with a large proportion of cases identified in gay and bisexual men.

Monkeypox is not normally a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

The Government has stocks of the smallpox vaccine which are being offered to very close contacts of those affected.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency), the following symptoms could be an indication of monkeypox:

  • Initially, symptoms may include a fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
  • A rash can also develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.
  • The rash changes and goes through different stages – it can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab which later falls off.

The UKHSA has urged that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population remains low.