UK scientist says monkeypox outbreak could be due ‘travel restrictions being lifted’

Second case of monkeypox diagnosed in London

Image: CDC

FOLLOWING reports of further monkeypox cases around the world, a scientist from the UK has suggested that these outbreaks could be because “Covid travel restrictions have been lifted’.

A report from news agency Reuters on Thursday, May 19, has taken a look at the monkeypox ‘crisis’  – which has now hit the UK, Spain, Portugal, the US and Canada, and a UK scientist believes that the lifting of travel restrictions following the pandemic could be causing the spread of the virus.

Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the outbreak in the UK is “highly unusual” and suggested it was because “travel had resumed”.

“Historically, there have been very few cases exported. It has only happened eight times in the past before this year,” he said.

He added: “My working theory would be that there’s a lot of it about in west and central Africa, travel has resumed, and that’s why we are seeing more cases.”

“This isn’t going to cause a nationwide epidemic like COVID did, but it’s a serious outbreak of a serious disease – and we should take it seriously,” he concluded.

While professor Whitworth has suggested the link could be because of the increased travel, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that the monkeypox outbreak could be linked to people identifying as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

“We are seeing transmission among men having sex with men,” said WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Soce Fall at a WHO press conference on Tuesday, May 17.

“This is new information we need to investigate properly to understand better the dynamic of local transmission in the UK and some other countries.”

Monkeypox is a very rare disease caused by a virus endemic to central Africa, which usually presents with fever, myalgia, inguinal lymphadenopathy (swollen glands), and a rash on the hands and face, similar to that of chickenpox.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at