The United Kingdom's Health Security Agency (HSA) yesterday reported more mpox cases, all from London, and encouraged people to stay vigilant over the summer months.
The warning comes as health officials and affected communities brace for more mpox infections linked to summer festivals and gatherings. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a similar warning in the wake of a cluster of mpox infections in the Chicago area.
Some UK patients have travel histories, vaccination gaps
In a statement, the HSA said it received reports of 10 more cases over the past 4 weeks, putting the number for the year at 20.
Half of the new cases were in unvaccinated people, and two in the group had received only one vaccine dose. Four patients likely contracted their infections abroad, and the source for one person is still undetermined.
Officials urged eligible people who haven't received their two vaccine doses to book the first dose by Jun 16 and the second dose by the end of July.
Katy Sinka, PhD, the HSA's head of sexually transmitted diseases, said it's clear that mpox hasn't gone away. She added that first-dose uptake has been strong, but only one third of the group have received their second dose. "Our aim is to eliminate this unpleasant disease from the UK entirely—vaccination and community action have worked very well to significantly reduce case numbers and we can't let our guard down now."
Global cases decline, but cases up in some regions
In a regular update today, the World Health Organization (WHO) said global cases continue to decline, though there are upticks and clusters in some regions.
Since its last report on May 11 and through May 22, the WHO recorded 152 new cases, mostly from the Americas and the Western Pacific , plus one more death, which involved a patient in Portugal. Overall, the global trends reflects an ongoing decline, but the WHO urged caution in interpreting trends, owing to reporting delays from Africa.
Over the past 3 weeks, cases were up in the Western Pacific, led by outbreaks with sustained local transmission in Japan, China, and South Korea. Levels were also up in Southeast Asia, mainly due to cases in Thailand.
Pakistan in the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region has reported three mpox cases between the middle of April and the middle of May. All patients had traveled to Saudi Arabia during their incubation periods, though Saudi Arabia hasn't reported a case since August 2022.
In its report, the WHO also reviewed the literature on mpox reinfection, noting that the difference between reinfection and recrudescence isn't clear for mpox. It said more data and a standard case definition are needed for mpox reinfections.
US cases remain low
As a whole, weekly US mpox cases remain low, with the country averaging about one or two new cases per day over the past several weeks, according to data from the CDC.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Public Health data show a rise in cases that began at the end of April, with the city averaging about six or seven cases over the past few weeks.