The UKHSA is issuing self-isolation guidance for people with a monkeypox infection

The advice follows initial guidance published on 30 May 2022 and will help people take care of themselves and protect others during their isolation period by reducing the risk of spreading the infection.

Household members are at highest risk of becoming infected from a case in their home. The new guidance advises people with monkeypox infection to take steps to limit transmission within the household.

Monkeypox infection spreads between people primarily through direct skin contact, including sexual contact. Infection can also be transmitted through contaminated items such as laundry and soft furnishings.

The guidelines advise that cases be encouraged to sleep and eat in a separate room whenever possible and use a separate bathroom from their household if possible. Good hygiene measures to be followed at all times have also been established.

If using a separate room is not possible, cases should avoid physical contact and keep at least 3 steps (1 meter) distance from all household members. It is especially important that they avoid close contact with young children, pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised as they may be at higher risk of serious illnesses.

Other advice includes keeping laundry separate from other household members and avoiding any close contact with pets. The full advice can be found on GOV.UK.

The guidance also provides guidance on the criteria cases should meet before they can end their isolation.

Individuals should:

  • have not had an elevated temperature for at least 72 hours
  • Make sure all lesions are scabs all over the body – face, arms and hands must also have scabs off with a fresh layer of skin underneath
  • No new lesions have formed in the last 48 hours
  • have no lesions in the mouth

Cases have been provided with the contact details of the medical team caring for them and will be in touch regularly. They should call this team if they have concerns – and ending isolation should be on the advice of this team.

After completing self-isolation, people should keep any remaining lesions (that are not on the face, arms or hands) covered with clothing. They should avoid close contact with young children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals until the scabs on all of their lesions have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.

The self-isolation guide also recognizes that staying home for long periods of time can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some, especially if they don’t have a lot of space or access to a garden.

People who are self-isolating are advised to keep in touch with family and friends by phone or social media and to seek support if needed, for example by accessing the Every Mind Matters website.

dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSAsaid:

Self-isolation is an important measure to protect others from monkeypox.

Staying at home and doing everything you can to avoid close contact with other people in the household will help prevent the spread of this virus.

We know self-isolation isn’t easy for some, so it’s important that people ask for support when they need it.

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