LONDON – British health officials say there are now 1,735 confirmed cases of monkeypox, and three-quarters of them are in London, according to data released on Tuesday.
In a review of the outbreak published last week, Britain’s Health Security Agency said there was “no sign of abating” in the monkey smallpox Diseases and viruses “continue to be transmitted primarily in the interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual or men who have sex with each other.” The agency says 97 percent of cases fall into that category and there is no evidence of long-term transmission thereafter.
Scientists warn that anyone who has close contact with a person with monkeypox or their clothing or bed sheets is at risk of infection, regardless of their sexual orientation.
British scientists estimate the outbreak is doubling in size about every two weeks and say it’s likely cases are under control. They say that in nearly 80% of cases, there is no information on whether the person has been in contact with a confirmed case, meaning the virus is spreading undetected.
The scientists noted that people with unusual symptoms, including only a single lesion, were detected during the outbreak and said there had also been reports elsewhere of people not symptoms of monkeypox. Around 10% of those infected in the UK have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
British experts said the virus was spread through sexual or close contact and there was no evidence of airborne transmission.
The Health Security Administration said the number of cases and countries that confirmed smallpox in monkeys “continues to increase sharply,” adding that infections outside Africa also mainly occur in gay men. and bisexual. It said there have been three cases of monkeypox in children, who are more likely to develop a serious illness.
Last month, the World Health Organization decline declared monkeypox a global health emergency, but said it would review its decision soon. It said its assessment of the outbreak could change if cases occur in sex workers, if the virus continues to spread rapidly or if more severe illness is seen.
People with monkeypox often experience symptoms such as fever, body aches, and a rash; Most recover within a few weeks without medical attention.
In Central and West Africa, where the disease has been endemic for decades, the disease mainly affects people who come into contact with infected wildlife, such as rodents or primates. There have been approximately 1,500 reported cases of monkeypox, including 70 deaths, in Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 9,600 cases of monkeypox worldwide in nearly 60 countries, most of which have had no previous reports of the disease.
Other must-read stories from TIME