May 23 (UPI) — British public health officials confirmed Monday 19 more cases of monkeypox, which has continued to spread to different countries around the world.
The rare monkeypox outbreak has occurred in 14 countries, including the United States. The UK Health Security Agency has identified 19 more cases, the majority involving young men, said Dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser.
Most of those infected with the virus are isolating at home with few requiring hospital admission.
While cases in the past have been linked to travel to western and central Africa, where the virus is endemic, British officials said the new outbreak so far has no direct link to the region.
“We anticipated that further cases would be detected through our active case finding with NHS services and heightened vigilance among healthcare professionals,” Hopkins said in a statement on Friday. “We expect this increase to continue in the coming days and for more cases to be identified in the wider community. Alongside this, we are receiving reports of further cases being identified in other countries globally.”
Britain, Spain and Portugal both lead the world in monkeypox cases, with up to 30 confirmations, as of last Friday, according to statistics provided by the World Health Organization. There have been 92 cases confirmed globally with another 28 suspected cases.
British officials have suggested the current outbreak may be tied primarily to sexual networks, along with contaminated material such as towels and bedding.
The UKHSA issued new guidance recommending that people who have had “unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact” with the disease should isolate themselves and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12, according to Sky News.