The monkeypox outbreak in the UK is showing signs of plateauing, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
The organization said there were 2,859 confirmed and highly probable cases of the viral disease on Aug. 4, most of which are transmitted between men who have sex with men.
Despite recent figures suggesting the outbreak has slowed, the agency’s director said “we cannot be complacent”.
“If you are concerned that you may have symptoms of monkeypox, take a break from events, meet up with friends, or have sexual contact. Instead, stay home and contact 111 or your local sexual health service for advice,” says Meera Chand , director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA.
Within England, most cases were in London. The median age of confirmed cases in the UK is 37 and 99% of all UK cases are male.
The smallpox vaccine is being offered to individuals at higher risk of coming into contact with monkeypox, according to the agency, in efforts to protect individuals and reduce the spread of the disease.
A vaccination campaign was launched last month as sexual health campaigners warned that health authorities are underestimating the magnitude of the response needed to prevent monkeypox from becoming endemic in the UK.
As the number of cases surpassed 2,000, public health officials ordered 100,000 additional doses of vaccine.
News of the plateaus of UK cases comes as parts of the US brace for the viral disease, where it has already been declared a public health emergency by President Joe Biden after New York City, San Francisco and other cities had declared a state of emergency .
The global monkeypox outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month. It was the seventh such statement since 2009, the most recent for Covid-19.
The WHO later advised men at risk of contracting monkeypox to consider reducing the number of sexual partners they have “for the time being.”