It was confirmed today (May 20) that UK cases of monkeypox have doubled in size, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirming 11 more cases. 

With more cases now being confirmed, there is concern from health authorities that the number could continue to rise and spread through countries if left unchecked. 

As a result, it is believed that the World Health Orgainsation (WHO) is convening a group of leading experts in an emergency meeting to discuss the outbreak, according to The Telegraph. 

With the main topic of the conversation focuses on how the virus is spread and the unusually high rates in gay and bisexual men as well as how to vaccinate against it.

According to The Telegraph, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Mike Ryan is in attendance. 

And is believed that one potential course of action could be to raise the notion of whether vaccination with the smallpox vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic, known as Jynneos in the US and Imvanex in the UK, should be used for contacts of people known to be infected. 

Currently, the vaccine is only approved in the UK for protection against smallpox despite the virus being eliminated in 1980.

When the first case of monkeypox was found in the UK two weeks ago Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, said: “It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low."

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, aching muscles, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can also develop, usually starting on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. It eventually forms a scab which falls off.

PHE said monkeypox does not spread easily and most patients recover within a few weeks, but it can cause severe illness in some people.