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Monkeypox cases increase by two in Scotland, figures show

There have been 70 cases of monkeypox in Scotland since May (PA)
There have been 70 cases of monkeypox in Scotland since May (PA)

Two more monkeypox cases have been detected in Scotland, bringing the number of confirmed cases north of the border to almost 70 since May.

Figures from Public Health Scotland (PHS) revealed on Friday there have been 67 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus north of the border since May 23.

It is an increase of two since the previous update on Tuesday.

The rise comes as LGBT+ groups from across the political spectrum have joined forces to demand the an increase in efforts to combat monkeypox or risk it becoming “endemic”.

The US on Thursday declared a public health emergency over the virus, which in the majority of the cases seen so far affects gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

Last month, the World Health Organisation called it a global emergency.

Those in Scotland who have the virus are receiving care in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance, PHS said.

Close contacts of the cases are being identified and provided with health information, advice and, where appropriate, vaccination.

So far, 3,000 vaccine pre-exposure doses have been allocated to Scotland and they have been alloted to health boards across the country, who are responsible for identifying and offering vaccination to eligible individuals.

Dr Nick Phin, director of public health science and medical director at PHS, said: “With monkeypox cases increasing globally, there is increased demand for the smallpox vaccine that is used for the programme, yet there is a limited supply.

“We are working closely with colleagues across the UK to ensure that the further vaccinations are acquired and are offered to those at highest risk first.

“As more supplies become available, more people will be offered a first dose.”

Dr Phin said health boards are identifying eligible individuals for vaccination through sexual health services, who are contacting people proactively, as well as inviting those who meet the criteria who present at their usual appointments.

“If you are currently unvaccinated, please ensure you take additional precautions, are aware of the signs and symptoms, and seek medical advice if you think you may have the infection,” he said.