Monkeypox lockdown not needed but cases will rise and may turn deadly, professor warns

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Professor Jimmy Whitworth told GB News a lockdown would not be needed, providing we keep the disease under control

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A monkeypox lockdown should not be needed if we get the disease under control, an infectious disease expert has told GB News.

Monkeypox cases are continuing to grow around the world after the virus spread to Europe.

In the latest advice from the UKHSA, anyone coming into contact with someone infected with monkeypox are advised to isolate for 21 days.

With Belgium also introducing a quarantine period, this has led to fears that another lockdown, similar to those seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, could return.

A monkeypox rash can appear to be similar to chickenpox
A monkeypox rash can appear to be similar to chickenpox

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Professor Jimmy Whitworth told GB News this would not be necessary, providing we get the virus under control.

But Prof Whitworth advised caution as cases will continue to spread.

He told us: "I do not think a lockdown will ever be needed, because I am hopeful that we will get it under control before that would ever be considered.

"Monkeypox can be a serious disease. With this West African strain, about one percent of cases may die.

"It is likely that the number of cases will continue to increase until we are able to control transmission which requires identification of all the cases and their contacts.

Professor Jimmy Whitworth
Professor Jimmy Whitworth

"The final size of the outbreak will depend on how quickly we can control transmission."

Various theories about how the disease has spread have surfaced, including festivals in the Canary Islands and even from pets.

Prof Whitworth said although no link can be found between cases, it is likely to have originated in Africa.

He also said: "Monkeypox is endemic in west and central Africa, where it spreads to humans from small mammals.

"It will have arrived in Europe and the USA through travellers from west Africa who had been exposed to the infection, travelled while incubating the infection, and then developed the disease once they had arrived.

"This is the first outbreak of monkeypox to occur outside Africa with widespread multinational distribution and dozens of cases.

"There is community spread and no obvious links between all of the cases.

"That means there is undocumented transmission occurring."