What is monkeypox and what to do if you think you have symptoms.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection. There has recently been an increase in cases but still only a small number of people in the UK have had monkeypox.

Most of the recent UK cases have been transmitted through close physical skin-to-skin contact – including during sex.  

Anyone can get monkeypox. Though currently most cases have been in men who are gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men.  

As the virus spreads through close contact, we advise these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia. 

Spotting the symptoms and what to do 

While the infection is mild for many it can cause severe symptoms and even hospitalisation for others.

Symptoms can include:  

  • unusual rashes or blisters on the body, including mouth, genitals and anus  
  • a high temperature 
  • headache 
  • muscle aches 
  • backache 
  • swollen glands 
  • shivering (chills) 
  • exhaustion 
  • proctitis (anal or rectal pain)

If you spot any of these symptoms, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has monkeypox, you should contact a sexual health service or call NHS 111 for advice.  

Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people until you've been told what to do. 

Because the infection is spread through close contact, it's important to follow the advice you’re given and isolate if you're diagnosed with monkeypox so that you don’t pass it on.  

Contact Brighton & Hove Sexual Health and Contraception Service (SHAC) on 01273 523 388.  


The NHS is delivering a vaccination programme for people at highest risk.

NHS sexual health services are starting to get supplies of vaccine and are prioritising those most at risk. They are delivering vaccination clinics and will be setting up more clinics in the coming weeks.

People most at risk will be contacted direct and invited to book a vaccination appointment. Please wait to be invited. 

Read more about getting the vaccine in Brighton & Hove from NHS Sussex.

This is a changing situation, and information will be updated on a regular basis. 

More information 

Go to the following websites for more information:

Brighton & Hove City Council is working closely with the UK Health Security Agency, as well as local NHS, sexual health services and other organisations to make sure that the latest advice is shared to keep everyone safe.