Monkeypox could infect children by the end of the year
monkey pox Cases could spread by the end of the year – and reach children, for whom the virus can be deadly – if vaccination efforts are not improved, experts have warned.
While 50,000 doses of vaccine are on order, public health experts say four times that many are needed to stop the spread.
The UK has already had more than 1,850 cases of the disease, which causes painful blisters all over the body, and the number is believed to be doubling every 15 days. These were predominantly observed in gay men.
dr Deborah Birx, the former head of the US Covid task force, told The Mail on Sunday that all gay men were in on it London Those under 50 should be vaccinated, as should women who frequent gay bars. “If you dance in a gay bar, there is a risk of contagion,” she said.
Monkeypox cases could spread by the end of the year – and reach children, for whom the virus can be deadly – if efforts to vaccinate against it don’t improve, experts have warned
The virus is transmitted through close physical contact such as sex, but also through kissing and hugging.
Vaccines can provide effective protection, but doctors have criticized the slow roll-out of vaccinations among the most vulnerable Britons, claiming the UK does not have enough doses to prevent the virus from spreading to the wider population.
There is particular concern that monkeypox could reach children, making them more likely to become seriously ill.
On Thursday, Britain’s Health Safety Agency confirmed a London school was sending intake classes home until the end of the school year after a child was exposed to a case of monkeypox.
According to a letter to the parents, officials advised parents not to hug their children or engage in other very close contact for two weeks. The children are now being offered the vaccine.
dr Deborah Birx (pictured), the former head of the US Covid task force, told The Mail on Sunday that all gay men in London under the age of 50, as well as women visiting gay bars, should be vaccinated. “If you dance in a gay bar, there is a risk of contagion,” she said
There are two vaccines that can protect against the virus. One, developed by a small Danish company, specifically protects against monkeypox. But the decades-old smallpox vaccine also works because the two viruses are so similar.
It is believed that the majority of those over 50 already have a good level of immunity to monkeypox, having received mandatory smallpox vaccination in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Mail on Sunday estimates the UK has 30,000 vaccines – a combination of the two types – and sexual health clinics last week started inviting some gay men to get the shot.
But experts say at least 200,000 doses of vaccine are needed to prevent monkeypox from spreading and reaching children and spreading among them and other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women.
That number is based on the number of men who are eligible for HIV-prevention drugs — those who have two or more male partners on average every six months, and as such are at the highest risk of contracting monkeypox.
If health authorities are able to vaccinate this group, experts believe the disease could be effectively controlled.
Examples of the monkeypox rash that can appear anywhere on the body. The UK has already had more than 1,850 cases of the disease, which causes painful blisters, and the number is believed to be doubling every 15 days. These were predominantly observed in gay men
Official estimates suggest that 100,000 men in the UK are eligible for these drugs, 70,000 of whom live in London, where most cases of monkeypox have already occurred.
As with Covid, two shots are required for the vaccine to be fully effective, meaning the UK is currently unable to vaccinate all eligible Britons.
“Health officials have told us that the current strategy is to source 50,000 doses of the vaccine, but as we have two doses to give it means only 25,000 people will receive it and that’s nowhere near enough,” says Dr . Claire Dewsnap, President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.
“Currently, monkeypox only affects this subset of Britons, but if cases continue to rise it will not stay that way. When it finally does break out in the wider population, we’re going to need a lot more vaccines than we can feasibly get our hands on.’
Experts also believe many cases go undiagnosed after a study by Belgium’s Institute for Tropical Medicine last week showed transmission of the virus can occur without symptoms.
More than 10 per cent of Britons who were infected were hospitalised, although this was mainly for pain management as the blisters can be debilitating and make activities such as eating and going to the toilet excruciating. In people with a weaker immune system, such as children, the disease can be fatal.
In June, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was concerned that sustained transmission of monkeypox would allow the virus to take hold in the community and infect “high-risk groups including children, immunocompromised and pregnant women.”