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'This is a rare and unusual situation': Health chiefs tackle your monkeypox questions

More than 1,200 cases of monkeypox have been reported across the UK as the outbreak continues to grow. While the majority of suspected cases so far have been identified in London, there is a contingent of cases being reported by GPs and patients in the North West - and a handful of suspected cases in Greater Manchester.

Of the total confirmed cases of 1,185 in England, 44 were based in the North West as of June 30, the latest information published. That’s a rise of 10 on the previous data report, which was produced on June 26.

The Manchester Evening News held a question and answer session with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chiefs - the body in charge of directing the monkeypox incident, handling the outbreak, and monitoring its spread. The UKHSA answered the most common questions being asked by readers, and shared some vital information for those worried about the disease.

READ MORE : Warning that UK could be on the brink of new Covid wave with virus becoming 'more dangerous'

"Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with Monkeypox virus," explained the UKHSA. "It is not common to get monkeypox from a person with the infection because it does not spread easily between people.

"But it can be spread through:

"Monkeypox can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa. It’s thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.

"You can also catch Monkeypox from an infected animal if you are bitten or you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters or scabs. It may also be possible to catch Monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching other products from infected animals (such as animal skin or fur)."

"On

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