Examples of high risk contacts include; household contacts, sexual contacts, and those changing a patient’s bedding without appropriate PPE.
Medium risk contacts will also be offered the vaccine, encouraged to avoid contact with the above groups and receive daily communication from authorities, but they are not asked to self-isolate, the guidance says.
Passengers seated directly next to a monkeypox case on a flight, those who shared a car or taxi with a case, and anyone treated in a consultation room after a confirmed case prior to room cleaning, are considered medium risk.
These individuals are also asked to stay away from work for 21 days if their employment involves contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and children aged under 12.
They are also encouraged to discuss any travel plans on a case-by-case basis if asymptomatic.
Keith Neal, a professor in the epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, said quarantine of contacts and cases of monkeypox cannot be enforced in the same way as Covid-19, as it is not a notifiable disease.
Notifiable diseases are a specific legal category of diseases which must be flagged to public health authorities, which include Covid-19, cholera, and malaria.
Compulsion would be ‘disproportionate’
“The risk of a contact being infected is so low compulsion would be disproportionate, currently it is advised to isolate where necessary,” he said.
“Health staff are also not legally required to isolate, but they can be excluded from their medical facilities for the 21 day period.”
It is understood isolation advice is being given on a case-by-case basis. Any contacts with symptoms will be tested, and testing is being carried out at the UKHSA’s specialist Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL).
It comes after Belgium announced monkeypox cases must self-isolate for 21 days.