Cases of monkeypox, hepatitis and measles are rising in the UK, which could worry many parents.
All three diseases can severely affect younger people and in some cases be fatal. So it’s important to know the symptoms and what you can do to protect your child.
While they are all spreading across the UK at the same time, to the knowledge of medical experts, they are not linked.
Here’s everything you need to know about monkeypox, hepatitis and measles cases in the UK.
Monkeypox has been dominating the headlines lately, the virus, which has existed in Africa for several years, is now spreading across Europe.
There are currently 106 cases in the UK, with three in Scotland.
The UKHSA says the risk for the general population is low, but it may have a more significant impact on immunocompromised individuals and younger people, says Dr. Suzanne Hopkins.
The condition can include general nausea followed by a smallpox-like rash. People have been assured that because monkeypox is not airborne, it is unlikely to spread as easily as Covid-19.
It is instead most commonly transmitted through touch, but can also be transmitted through infected animals, contaminated food, and through coughing or sneezing.
It can be avoided by good hand hygiene and eating thoroughly cooked meat.
There is no single treatment, as this may depend on the severity of the disease, although many who have been in contact with infected people have been offered smallpox vaccines, which are effective against monkeypox.
The actual cause of the UK childhood hepatitis outbreak is not clear, but some believe it could be due to lockdowns when children were mixing far less than usual.
Simon Taylor-Robinson, medical expert at Imperial College London, told Reuters: “This could be an overreaction to stimulation of the immune system, which is unaccustomed to such an insult.
“That’s a good theory.”
There have been 222 cases of hepatitis in children under the age of 10, including 31 in Scotland.
Of the UK cases, 17 required a liver transplant and one unfortunately died of liver failure.
The condition affects the liver and is spread by coughing, sneezing or touching contaminated surfaces, according to UKHSA recommendations.
They said: “The most effective way to reduce the spread of infection is good hand and respiratory hygiene.
If your child is having trouble breathing, is not eating or drinking, or develops jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin), you should call the NHS on 111 or your GP.
Measles cases rise as MMR vaccination rates drop to just 85.5 per cent in the UK.
The World Health Organization has dubbed this the “global measles epidemic” and said annual numbers have risen from 10,000 or fewer cases in the first two months of the past few years to 17,000 in 2022.
Around 73 million people around the world who could get the MMR vaccine didn’t have it, and one doctor warns it could lead to a loss of herd immunity.
dr Stuart Sanders of The London General Practice told the Express: “This is being caused by the decline in measles vaccination that began in the 1970s due to the spread of misinformation about the vaccine.
“Vaccine uptake continued to fall as a result of a fraudulent article by Professor Andrew Wakefield published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet; the article was later withdrawn, but it caused immense damage to confidence in measles vaccination.”
He adds that vaccine skepticism has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
He suggests parents isolating their children if they show symptoms, which include worsening of their clinical condition, persistent or persistent fever, and refusal of food or water, among others.
Parents should see a doctor if they are concerned about the symptoms described above.
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