As cases of monkeypox continue to spread, the United Kingdom urged people who are exhibiting symptoms of the disease to abstain from having sex. This advice comes as the number of cases in the U.K. stand at the highest in the world.

In fresh guidance issued on Monday, the British government advised that those who have been infected with monkeypox to use condoms for at least eight weeks after the infection abates as a precautionary measure, but otherwise urged them to avoid "contact with other people until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off".

British authorities also urged people afflicted with monkeypox to isolate themselves at home once they are being monitored by local public health authorities. Those who come into contact with potential patients are not required to isolate if they are asymptomatic, but isolation is encouraged "if necessary" for up to three weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it is unlikely monkeypox will become a pandemic, but it has confirmed about 257 cases of the disease worldwide. The highest number of infections have been recorded in the U.K., where about 179 cases of the disease have been detected to date.

Symptoms that people should watch out for are similar to the flu, including fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, and muscle weakness. This is followed by swelling in the lymph nodes as the body works to fight the infection, which separates monkeypox from smallpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Individuals with monkeypox infections will then see a rash that will cover the face and body. This includes the inside of the mouth, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.

These painful raised poxes are fluid-filled and often have red circles around them. They can scab over and typically heal in about two to three weeks, the CDC said.

While there is no treatment for the viral disease, there is a vaccine that can prevent monkeypox, which is spread through close contact with those that are already infected.

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