Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus and belongs to the Poxviridae family. Photo courtesy of @WHO
On Wednesday, a new rule making monkeypox a legally notifiable disease went into effect across the United Kingdom, requiring all doctors in England to report any suspected monkeypox cases to their local council or local Health Protection Team.
If the virus is found in a test sample, laboratories must also alert the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
“Interrupting transmission and controlling any further spread of monkeypox requires rapid diagnosis and reporting. Wendi Shepherd, the UKHSA’s monkeypox incident director, stated, “This new legislation will enable us and our health partners in quickly identifying, treating, and controlling the disease.”
According to Francois Balloux, a professor of computational systems biology and director of University College London’s Genetics Institute, the new law requires “all suspected monkeypox cases to be reported.” This is a sensible regulatory modification because it increases surveillance and makes contact tracing easier, while it does not modify the present containment procedures.”
As of Tuesday, the UKHSA had detected 321 monkeypox cases across the country, with 305 confirmed cases in England, 11 in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland, and three in Wales, according to the latest bulletin.
“Anyone can get monkeypox,” the UKHSA said, advising people to contact sexual health clinics if they have a rash with blisters and have been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks or have been in close contact with someone who has or might have monkeypox in the past three weeks.
“Making monkeypox a notifiable disease suggests a desire to ensure reporting” from all sectors and parts of the National Health Service, according to David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“It shows that the government wants to monitor the entire population, not just the risk categories that have been identified so far.” This will allow for a clear identification of all risk categories, as well as a better understanding of the epidemiology and transmission,” stated Heymann.
“Monkeypox is not a COVID situation and it will never be a COVID situation,” Paul Hunter, a microbiologist and communicable disease expert, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Hunter said scientists were perplexed because many cases in the current wave of monkeypox infections appear to have no apparent link.