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expert reaction to latest case numbers of monkeypox reported in the UK and guidance to control community transmission, as published by UKHSA

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected an additional 71 cases of monkeypox in England, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in England since 7th May to 172.


Prof Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director of UCL Genetics Institute, University College London (UCL), said:

“There have been 71 new confirmed monkeypox cases reported in the UK on Monday, May 30, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak to 179. Though, day-to-day fluctuation in the number of reported cases is high, with in particular few cases reported over weekends. For example, no case was reported on Saturday and Sunday 28-29 May in the UK. As such, the 71 new cases partly reflect a weekend backlog.”

“Additionally, the increased surveillance efforts may allow detecting a higher proportion of cases in circulation. As such, it remains very difficult to assess whether monkeypox cases are currently going up, down or plateauing in the UK, and whether the measures in place at this stage are sufficient to curtail the outbreak.”

“The natural reservoir of monkeypox remains uncharacterised to this day. Though, rodents and rabbits are known to be susceptible to monkeypox. Cats and dogs likely don’t get infected with monkeypox. Transmission to household pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas or rabbits should be avoided, as they would likely be ill, and may pass the virus to other people in the household.”

“Though, the risk of monkeypox establishing a stable animal reservoir in household pets is very small. An animal reservoir requires sustained animal-to-animal transmission, which is possible in domestic animals kept in sizeable numbers, such as livestock, or in wildlife. Household rodents or rabbits kept on their own or in small groups are most unlikely to become stable monkeypox animal reservoirs.”

“The emergence of a monkeypox reservoir outside Africa would require spill-over into commensal rodents, such as rats or mice or wild ones. This would be a highly unwelcome development, but it would be unlikely to involve an intermediate transmission event through household pets.”



71 additional Monkeypox cases identified in England – 

UK’s public health agencies issue Monkeypox guidance to control transmission in the community –



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