Experts are warning that efforts to curb the spread of Monkeypox in the UK are insufficient, with a whistleblower claiming that poor quality support is being provided to those who suspect they are infected. The UKHSA is now suggesting that cases are doubling every 15 days, and, as of 7 July, there are 1,552 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK related to the outbreak.
“[There is] no evidence that current strategies are likely to bring this to an end anytime soon,” said Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia.
Anyone is able to contract the virus, however there has been a strong rise among gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM). London is the epicentre of the growth, with the majority of UK cases detected here.
The previously mentioned whistleblower is reported to be a UKHSA Monkeypox helpline worker. The Guardian has seen scripts that show even if someone calls because they are concerned they may have had a contact with a confirmed case, they are told their risk is very low if they have not been formally identified as a contact. The whistleblower stated that made little sense when a caller has said a sexual partner has monkeypox symptoms.
UKHSA has rejected these claims, and advised that the phone line is “an additional service to provide non-clinical advice to members of the public”.
Regarding vaccine supplies for Monkeypox, UKHSA has confirmed there is a ready supply, with almost 30,000 doses procured, although the NHS has yet to announce any plans for a rollout.
“Following UKHSA advice, the NHS will continue to prioritise vaccination for those at greater risk, including healthcare workers in specialist roles and clinics where exposure to Monkeypox is highest”, said an NHS spokesperson.