Cases of monkeypox have risen to more than 1,200 across the UK as health authorities issued a warning ahead of Pride weekend.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows a total of 1,235 confirmed cases in the UK in the latest update.
Almost 700 cases have been recorded in London with 33 new cases detected in the capital since June 26. Seventy-seven per cent of England’s cases are located in London – 692 out of 898 cases.
There were 150 new cases detected in England in less than a week, bringing the total number of cases in England to 1,185.
There are 34 cases in Scotland, 10 in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.
People who have tested positive, are showing symptoms of monkeypox, or have been asked to self-isolate are advised against attending Pride.
The overwhelming majority of cases are of gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, UKHSA said, warning people to “enjoy Pride safely”.
“Before you go to events or parties, check for pimples and rashes. Please do not attend if you have any symptoms of monkeypox or feel unwell,” said Wendi Shepherd, Monkeypox Incident Director.
“If you have a rash or blisters, stay home, call a sexual health clinic and get tested. Please be vigilant for any symptoms of monkeypox in the coming weeks – especially if you are having sex with someone new.
Ms Shepherd encouraged people to exchange contact details with their sexual partners to limit transmission.
More than 1.5million people are expected to take part in the parade on Saturday or as spectators, 50 years after the first British Pride march in 1972.
With a focus on unity and equality, it will retrace part of the same journey 50 years ago.
Monkeypox can be spread by touching clothing, bedding, or towels used by someone with the virus, as well as by touching skin blisters or by coughing or sneezing from someone with the rash.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection, said UKSHA London regional director of public health Professor Kevin Fenton, but can be transmitted through close physical contact and sharing bedding and towels.
Symptoms of the virus include rashes, appearing as spots, ulcers or blisters anywhere on your body, as well as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, feeling very tired and swollen glands.
Call ahead to the local sexual health clinic or dial 111.