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Nurses ‘must continue to be aware’ of mpox symptoms amid new cases

Nurses ‘must continue to be aware’ of mpox symptoms amid new cases

The mpox virus ‘has not gone away’ and nurses working in primary and community care must continue to be aware of patients presenting with symptoms, a sexual health nursing leader has said.

Speaking at an exclusive Nursing in Practice conference this week, co-chair of the STI Foundation and nurse representative to the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, Jodie Crossman, provided an update on the current state of play concerning mpox.

Ms Crossman, who is also a nurse team leader for a sexual health service in Brighton, highlighted how ‘things have changed in the last few weeks’ with more cases emerging in London.

She noted there were around 10 cases identified in the city last month, adding: ‘We’re expecting to see more.’

Though she added that ‘the cases that we’ve seen this year tend to be much milder and are occurring in vaccinated patients’.

‘So, just to be aware that you may see patients in primary or in community care with mpox symptoms,’ she told delegates of the virtual Nursing in Practice 365 event on Tuesday.

Since the outbreak of mpox was detected last year, the majority of cases have been identified in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Although anyone can contract the virus.

Symptoms can include headaches and muscle aches, fever, sore throat and a rash usually appears one to five days after initial symptoms.

Ms Crossman is among those who is supporting a call for the mpox vaccination programme – which is due to finish at the end of July – to be extended, to ensure all those that need a vaccine will have one.

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee Steve Brine wrote to health and social care secretary Steve Barclay last week, outlining his concerns about the upcoming closure of the programme. It is understood he has not yet received a response.

Last year, the government launched a programme to roll out a smallpox vaccine, which was found to be effective against mpox, to those at high risk of the virus. It has largely been delivered by sexual health services.

Ms Crossman said during the outbreak the ‘community really mobilised’ and that ‘a lot of men who have sex with men have really modified their behaviour to protect other people’.

‘People really mobilised to get the vaccine out as quickly as they possibly could,’ she added.

‘We put on Saturday clinics, we put on evening clinics… and so it was it was very, very quick response and we’re still vaccinating now.’

Ms Crossman said teams were continuing to try and get the vaccine to as many people as possible and hoped the government would extend the programme.

She also highlighted the need to share ‘our knowledge and our resources’ globally, ‘to make sure that everybody can access vaccination if they need it’.

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