You will have heard recent reports of an outbreak of monkeypox in the UK. Monkeypox can be transmitted through close physical contact (skin-to-skin) – including sex. The current outbreak is being seen especially in gay and bisexual men, with the majority of UK cases being present in England. Cases in England alone have now reached over 1000 in July 2022.
MonkeyPox infection is usually a self-limiting illness, and most people recover within several weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.
This is still an emerging public health issue and we’re all still learning about how and why monkeypox is being transmitted in these ways. That means information might change – so it’s important to stay up-to-date and to get information from a reliable source (see below).
It is important to have a balanced and proportionate response to the current monkeypox outbreak. Monkeypox can be unpleasant for people who get it. For most people it will involve a few weeks of recovery at home, but some people have been hospitalised because of their monkeypox symptoms. The current public health outbreak response is being undertaken to try to reduce the numbers of people who get monkeypox.
Venues like yours play an essential role within our communities. You provide space to socialise and to build community, and you are a place where people can find out more about their health and well-being. You are an important asset and partner in this current public health outbreak, along with community organisations, the NHS and public health experts.
The information below helps you to understand how you can look after the people who use your venue, how you can look after your staff, and how you can keep your venue or space as safe as possible. There’s also details about referrals to more information and advice.
This information has been produced by community organisations that you are used to working with and seeing in your venues, along with public health experts at UKHSA (including local Health Protection teams) and local authority public health teams.
Looking after the people who use your venue
You can play a key and important role in educating the people who use your venue about monkeypox, including alerting them to the common symptoms of monkeypox.
We are asking people to look out for the symptoms of monkeypox including an unusual rash with blisters. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body and can include the genitals. It starts as raised spots, turns into small blisters filled with fluid, before finally forming a scab which later falls off. People are contagious until all the scabs have fallen off and there is intact skin underneath. In the days before the onset of the rash, people will often have symptoms including a high temperature, headaches, muscle aches, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion.
People with a rash with blisters who have been in contact with someone who has or could have monkeypox are advised to contact a sexual health clinic or ring 111.
It is important that people with monkeypox abstain from sex while symptomatic, from the onset of symptoms and until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried and fallen off. People are asked, as a precaution, to use condoms with all sexual partners for 8 weeks after infection.
If someone has these symptoms, you can ask them to take a break and not attend your venue or event until they seek medical advice and know they’re well
You could do this by:
- Displaying an information poster at the entrance of your venue about monkeypox symptoms (see below)
- Prominently displaying posters and information about monkeypox around your venue. Putting up posters in toilet cubicles and above urinals is a great way to grab attention
- If you are hosting a ticketed or advertised event, you could provide this advice on your ticket information, or pre-event information you send out
- If you have a mailing list, you could send this information out via the list
- You can post information on your social media
- You can reassure your customers that you have implemented the required cleaning processes.
Looking after you and your staff
You can ensure your staff know the common symptoms of monkeypox (as above)
If any of your staff have those symptoms, you can ask them to not attend work until they seek medical advice and know they’re well. People with a rash or blisters, who have been in contact with someone who has or could have MonkeyPox are advised to contact a Sexual Health Clinic. For Blackpool, this is Sexual Health Servies at Whitegate Drive on 0300 123 4154.
In some instances, close contacts of people with monkeypox who are assessed to be at higher risk are being offered a vaccine. If you or your staff has been identified to be at higher risk, the contact tracing team will contact you and provide details about how to get vaccinated.
Renaissance UK are currently gathering information on a single point of access for each venue. Our Sexual health outreach teams will be visiting venues to ensure we have up to date contact details for managers and owners, as requested by UKSHA. We will also be collating information on the numbers of staff in each venue that may require a vaccine. You can also contact Renaissance UK Sexual Health Manager Anthony Harrison-West with this information at AHWest@Ren-UK.com
Making your venue safer
If you are NOT a sex on premises venue – you can continue to follow standard cleaning protocols for your venue. You can use existing cleaning materials and products. You do not need to use specialist cleaning services or equipment.
If you ARE a sex on premises venue – you can continue to follow standard cleaning
- Regularly clean surfaces and materials using standard cleaning and disinfection methods and materials. This includes washing clothes, towels, linen or equipment with standard detergents and cleaning products
- Undertake regular spot-cleaning of areas – including areas that might be in contact with people’s skin such as benches, chairs, beds, walls, and glory holes
- Ensure that waste products such as tissues, condoms and paper towels are double bagged and disposed of using standard waste management
- Ensure staff undertaking cleaning and waste disposal are wearing a fluid-repellent surgical mask, non-sterile disposable gloves, and a disposable apron
- You can use existing cleaning materials and products. You do not need to use specialist cleaning services or equipment
This is also a good opportunity to check that you have other standard tools in place to be a healthy venue or space more generally. This includes having condoms and lube available; soap dispensers and hot water in the bathrooms; hand drying facilities such as operational hand dryers or paper towels; and hand sanitisers in the venue.
If you need further advice and support about infection control, please contacts the Blackpool Community Health protection team firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting more information and support
If someone has the symptoms listed above, they are advised to call NHS 111 or to contact their local sexual health clinic, as soon as possible. They should NOT visit a health centre without phoning first to get advice.
Information for the public
NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/monkeypox/
UKHSA – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/monkeypox and https://www.gov.uk/government/news/monkeypox-cases-confirmed-in-england-latest-updates
Display this poster in your venue, or contact us for a printed copy.
PrEPster and The Love Tank: Everything we know about monkeypox so far
Thanks to Love Tank for the original copy http://thelovetank.info