Health chiefs actively investigating UKs gay bars amid monkeypox outbreak
UK health chiefs are "actively investigating" gay and bisexual bars and spas as they try to contain the monkeypox outbreak.
Nine cases of the extremely rare disease have been confirmed in the UK so far, with six of those cases relating to men who have sex with men, according to the Daily Mail.
Officials say this is "highly suggestive of spread in sexual networks".
There is reportedly a similar pattern developing across Europe. In Spain, seven gay or bisexual men have tested positive, whereas Portugal has seen nine cases involving "mostly young" males.
There are also fears that monkeypox may be far more widespread than we are currently aware, given that most of the patients are not linked to each other.
Today (May 19), UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned men to look out for rashes developing on their face or genitals.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an update on the outbreak last night discussing the situation in the UK, which was before two more British gay or bisexual men were confirmed to have contracted it today.
In their statement, they revealed that gay venues and the sexual contacts of the confirmed patients were being investigated.
The update read: "Health authorities in the UK have established an incident management team to coordinate the extensive contact tracing which is currently underway in health care settings and the community for those who have had contact with the confirmed cases.
"Contacts are being assessed based on their level of exposure and followed up through active or passive surveillance for 21 days from the date of last exposure to a case. Vaccination is being offered to higher risk contacts.
"A detailed backwards contact tracing investigation is also being carried out to determine the likely route of acquisition and establish whether there are any further chains of transmission within the UK for all cases.
"Sexual contacts and venues visited (for example saunas, bars and clubs) are actively being investigated for the four GBMSM [gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men] cases."
Contact tracers are reportedly interviewing the owners of gay venues as part of their investigations.
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Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of West and Central Africa.
It can spread between humans via both droplet respiration or an infected person's bodily fluids.
In humans it causes lesions to grow and fill with clear fluid, which then change into bumps with yellowish fluid that crust over and fall off.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 100 cases of monkeypox will result in death.
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