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Monkeypox: First infection detected in Wales – with more UK cases to be revealed later

The first case of monkeypox has been reported in Wales, health officials have said.

There has been an outbreak of the rare virus across the world, with 19 countries confirming infections, and the Welsh case takes the UK total to 79.

It is spreading through the UK via community transmission, with infections being detected on a daily basis.

The virus, which is normally reported in central and West African countries, causes a rash and fever, but symptoms are mild for most people.

Read more: What are the symptoms of monkeypox, and how do you catch it?

Dr Giri Shankar, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is today (Thursday 26 May) confirming that a case of monkeypox has been identified in Wales.

“We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, and we are ready to respond to cases of monkeypox in Wales.

“The case is being managed appropriately. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.”

He added: “We are reassuring people that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people, and the overall risk to the general public is low.

“It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”

Read more: What we know about UK’s biggest-ever monkeypox outbreak

Risk to UK population ‘remains low’

The number of confirmed cases in the UK is set to rise later on Thursday, when the UKHSA updates its figures.

Despite the rise, the UKHSA has said the risk to the overall UK population “remains low”.

Gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, are being urged in particular to be aware of symptoms, especially if they have recently had a new sexual partner.

UKHSA teams have been tracing contacts of those with a confirmed case and are advising those at highest risk to isolate for 21 days.

A smallpox vaccine is also being offered to close contacts to reduce their risk of symptoms and severe illness.

Anyone with concerns that they could be infected with monkeypox is advised to contact NHS 111.

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