Monkeypox latest news summary | 23 May 2022

Don’t expect monkeypox to lead to lockdowns, expert says

Monkeypox is “unlikely” to lead to nationwide lockdowns like those witnessed at the height of the covid-19 pandemic, a UK doctor has told Sky News.

“I think with monkeypox it’s very unlikely that we’re going to get to a situation where we would have a lockdown,” Dr Mark Lawton said on Monday. “This is a virus that’s spread through close contact, mostly skin to skin. It can be through infected clothes or bed linens. Potentially droplets from close contact. So I think it’s unlikely that it’s going to spread in the same way.

“[Monkeypox is] ultimately still very rare, most people will have a very mild illness. Part of the reason for lockdown with covid was the fact that it was going to overwhelm the health service. We don’t expect to see that kind of problem with monkeypox.”

Dr Lawton, who is a spokesperson for the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, added that monkeypox should not be labelled as a sexually transmitted disease.

“It’s transmitted through close contact of any sort. Now, obviously, sexual contact might mean that contact was closer, it might mean that contact is for longer periods of time, and sex is very popular. So we do see it spread in that mechanism.

“But it’s certainly not a sexually transmitted infection, and I think one of the problems that we still have sadly in this country is a lot of stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections.

“So it’s important that we don’t introduce stigma, because that then becomes a barrier for people coming forward and getting tested, which is what we need to do to try and minimise the spread of this.”

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