LONDON, England – The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published its first technical briefing on the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, and shared UKHSA analysis with other public health investigators and academic partners.
This first publication includes updated epidemiological data, with evidence from anonymised detailed interviews with patients which are helping us to understand transmission and to determine how to target interventions.
“Of the cases interviewed, 81 percent were known to be London residents and 99 percent were male. The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old. 152 cases participated in more detailed questionnaires. In this data, 151 of the 152 men interviewed identified as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men, or reported same-sex contact.
“Recent foreign travel, within 21 days prior to symptom onset, was reported by 75 cases, with 59 of these reporting travel within Europe,” said UK Health Security Agency. “We also share preliminary assessment of the genomic differences between the outbreak virus and previous monkeypox viruses. In any emerging infection outbreak, we assess the virus or bacteria for any changes. We will be working to investigate the significance of the mutations identified so far to determine if they will have any impact on the virus’ behaviour.”
Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections, UKHSA said:
“We are working, both in the UK and together with global partners, to progress the investigations that we need to help us better understand the virus, its transmission and the best use of mitigations such as vaccines and treatments. We use the new data rapidly to inform the public health response and we continue to work to reduce transmission. We are grateful to all those who have come forward for testing and the patients who continue to help us understand the outbreak through participating in studies and investigations.”
UKHSA has identified a number of aspects of this outbreak which require further investigation. We will release the results of our ongoing investigations in subsequent technical briefings – these will be published regularly.