Scotland has confirmed another monkeypox case as Europe remains the epicentre of an escalating outbreak. 

The total number of cases in the UK has now reached 524 as of June 14, but only 13 of these have been identified in Scotland, the UKHSA confirmed. 

England has seen the vast majority of the cases - accounting for 504 of the confirmed infections - with a further two in Northern Ireland and five in Wales, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). 

An emergency committee from World Health Organisation (WHO) will decide next week whether the spread of monkeypox in non-endemic countries should be deemed a 'public health emergency of international concern'. 

This is the highest level of global alert and currently only applies to the Covid-19 pandemic and polio. 

Monkeypox is usually endemic to central and west Africa and only spreads further through travel to countries where it occurs naturally.

However, in recent months, public health officials have noted it has been spreading within Europe with patients having no travel links to Africa.

More than 85 per cent of the global total monkeypox infections are now in Europe where 25 countries recorded more than 1500 cases. 

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said: "The magnitude of this outbreak poses a real risk; the longer the virus circulates, the more it will extend its reach, and the stronger the disease’s foothold will get in non-endemic countries."

He urged European governments to adopt three basic steps: enhanced surveillance and contact tracing, communicating with communities to curb transmission and "genuine and unselfish" collaboration between regions. 

He said: "For decades, monkeypox has been endemic in parts of western and central Africa – and for decades it has been neglected by the rest of the world.

"Now that it is in Europe and elsewhere, we have seen yet again how a challenge in one part of the world can so easily and quickly be a challenge for all of us – and how we must all work together to ensure a coordinated response that is fair to one and all, especially the most vulnerable."

While anyone can contract the disease, the UK cases have spread predominantly among men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men, the UKHSA said. 

The virus can be passed on by sexual activity, coughing or sneezing, or contact with monkeypox scabs – including via bedding, towels or clothing.

Most people recover within several weeks, although some can suffer a severe illness.

The UKHSA said that monkeypox does not usually spread easily and the overall risk to the population remains low.

  • The first symptoms of monkeypox include:
  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears one to five days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals.

The rash begins as raised spots which turn into small blisters filled with fluid.