The government has issued a warning as the number of monkeypox cases in the UK continues to rise.

No cases have been reported on the Island, and the risk remains low to the general public.

However, people are being asked to be aware of the symptoms.

Advice from Public Health Isle of Man is to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of the body, especially the genitalia.

The advice is to contact the Isle of Man Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) sexual health clinic if you have concerns.

Those who may be at higher risk include anyone who changes sexual partners regularly, or has close contact with individuals that they don’t know.

It’s important to stress that this is not an illness that affects one community more than any other and it’s not a sexually transmitted disease – it is spread by close contact.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox.

It is usually a mild ‘self-limiting’ illness – meaning it most cases it resolves itself without treatment, with most people recovering within a few weeks.

The main symptoms are:

  • Unusual rashes or lesions on the body such as the face or genital area
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you think you have monkeypox symptoms – however mild:

  • Contact your GP or call a sexual health clinic immediately. Your call will be treated sensitively and confidentially.
  • Avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you know that this is not monkeypox.

Glenn Blacker, head of health protection at Public Health Isle of Man, said: ‘We are monitoring the situation closely.

‘Up to now there have been over fifty cases of monkeypox detected in the UK, and we are not aware of cases on the Isle of Man to date.

‘Investigations are underway in the UK to establish links between cases.

‘Although the risk to the Isle of Man public is currently low, monkeypox is known to spread through close contact, so we are urging people who think they may have symptoms to contact their GP and the sexual health clinic.’