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LONDON – British health authorities said Friday that monkeypox outbreaks across the country may be peaking and that the epidemic’s growth has slowed.

In a statement, the UK Health Security Agency said there were “early signs that the outbreak is leveling off”, with 2,859 cases identified since May. No deaths were reported. Last month, authorities estimated the size of the outbreak was doubling roughly every two weeks, but new infections have fallen in recent weeks.

“While the latest data suggest that the growth of the outbreak has slowed, we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the Health Security Agency. Anyone who thinks they may have monkeypox should avoid meeting friends, social gatherings, and avoiding sexual contact, she said.

The Health Security Agency said its latest analysis of the outbreak “suggests that monkeypox continues to spread primarily in the interconnected sexual networks of men who are gay, bisexual or who have sex with other men.” More than 70% of cases in the UK Happened in London.

British officials noted a small number of female infections, but said there was insufficient evidence that monkeypox continued to spread outside gay and bisexual men; in the UK, 99% of cases were in men.

Scientists analyzing the monkeypox virus in the UK noted that there are many mutations compared to the virus circulating in Africa, but said there was no evidence these genetic changes made monkeypox more contagious.

Experts suspect that monkeypox outbreaks in North America and Europe may have originated in Africa long before the disease began to spread sexually at two carnivals in Spain and Belgium.

The World Health Organization said this week that 92% of monkeypox cases outside Africa could be infected Passability and its Director-General recently called for vulnerable gay and bisexual men consider reducing their sexual partners “temporary.”

Nearly 90 countries have reported more than 26,000 monkeypox cases so far, a 19 percent increase last week.

in June, British authorities expanded their Vaccination Strategies to provide vaccines not only to health workers treating monkeypox patients and high-risk contacts of patients, but also to some gay or bisexual and high-risk men who contract the virus, including those who have multiple sexual partners or engage in group sex.

Last month, the UK downgraded its assessment of a monkeypox outbreak and dropped its recommendation to quarantine contacts of monkeypox cases for three weeks unless they were symptomatic. The data showed that only a small number of contacts ended up contracting monkeypox, and there was a lack of evidence that the disease spread without close, intimate or sexual contact.

On Thursday, the United States declared its monkeypox outbreak a national emergency, and the World Health Organization last month designated it a global emergency.

Monkeypox spreads when people have close physical contact with the foci, clothing or sheets of an infected person. Most people recover without treatment, but lesions can be very painful, and more severe cases can lead to complications including encephalitis and death.



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