'No need for Covid-like jab rollout for monkeypox,' says UEA expert

The news comes after the World Health Organisation declared the monkeypox a global health emergency on June 23

The World Health Organisation declared monkeypox a global health emergency on June 23 - Credit: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

An infectious diseases specialist does not believe a big drive for monkeypox vaccines is necessary in Norwich.

Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) School of Medicine believes the rare disease could fizzle out within the next three weeks if infections continue to fall across the UK.

The expert said there is a subgroup of people who are most at risk but the majority of the public are unlikely to be struck by the virus.

The latest figures up to Monday, July 25 show there are 2,260 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox across the country. 

There are an additional 65 highly probable cases which have not been confirmed in a laboratory but appear to have obvious symptoms of the disease.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia. Picture: UEA

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia. Picture: UEA - Credit: UEA

This includes 94 confirmed cases in the east of England with London the most affected part of the country with 1,699. 

Prof Hunter said: "We are not in the eye of the storm here in Norwich but we are seeing some cases in the region. I do not know exactly whereabouts.

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"The strategy with Covid was to vaccinate everybody but we will not do that with monkeypox.

"It is not spreading as regularly and it is doing so in a sexual network of people who are making frequent contact with their partners." 

Prof Hunter said the R rate - secondary infections produced by a single infected person - is less than one for most people but is around 1.4 for the group which is most at risk.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the Government to urgently tackle the spread of monkeypox

Most of the cases of monkeypox are in London - Credit: PA

Prof Hunter added: "If we vaccinate the current risk group we should be able to achieve herd immunity quite easily and hopefully the virus will disappear. 

"The vaccines have been distributed according to national need. Most of that need is in London. It's not a Norwich problem.

"If this had happened before Covid we would have been able to manage it reasonably well."

The main symptom of monkeypox is a rash which can appear on the face and hands.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.