MP LLOYD Russell-Moyle has condemned the government for acting too slowly to tackle an outbreak of monkeypox.

At a visit to the Dean Street Sexual Health Clinic in London yesterday, the MP for Brighton Kemptown said that he was confronted with sobering stories from people infected with the virus and demanded the government do more help those affected.

He said: “The government is being slow to update symptoms, but from what we are hearing it seems that ulcer-like sores can appear at the infection site or other places.

“I heard of cases of men who had ulcers so bad they burned through their oesophagus, sores so bad men were unable to urinate and sores in the eyes that could lead to blindness without treatment.”

While there is a vaccine that can work against the virus, Mr Russell-Moyle was told that the UK has only 20,000 doses.

Mr Rusell-Moyle said: “This would not be enough to cover half of the 40,000 patients Dean Street alone has.

“A colleague and friend who lived through the Aids crisis in the 1980s said that this outbreak is reminding her of that time - health officials too frightened to state the obvious and a government asleep at the wheel while a marginalised group is affected.”

He also said that, while the government has promised 100,000 vaccines, they will only come by the end of September and will not be enough to help everyone in the most vulnerable groups.

“We have the evidence of where this is spreading, we have a vaccine that works, but we lack the political will to get the action we need,” he said.

As of July 18, there were 2,137 confirmed cases in the UK, with a large proportion of cases found in London.

The UK Health Security Agency has said close contacts of those infected with the virus do not need to isolate at home if they do not have symptoms, as figures showed only a small number of close contacts go on to develop monkeypox.

While anyone can get monkeypox, the majority of cases in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: “Monkeypox is a rare and usually mild disease that does not spread easily between people, but we are taking action to help further manage the outbreak in the UK by procuring over 100,000 additional doses of vaccine.

“The NHS is already contacting those eligible for the vaccine, and I would urge people to take up the offer as soon as they are contacted.”

Mr Russell-Moyle urged people in Brighton and Hove who have contracted the virus or have symptoms to contact the Brighton and Hove Sexual Health and Contraception Service on 01273 523388.