Monkeypox can be spread by sex in two gay raves in Europe

A key World Health Organization adviser described the unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in developed countries as a “random event” that appears to have been caused by sexual activity in two recent rave in Europe.

Dr. David Hayman, a former WHO emergency department head, told The Associated Press that the main theory explaining the epidemic of the disease was sexual transmission at Rave in Spain and Belgium. Monkeypox has never been widespread outside Africa and is endemic to animals.

“We know that monkeypox can spread when in close contact with the lesions of an infected person, and sexual contact seems to have amplified its transmission,” Hayman said.

This is important from the typical epidemic pattern of this disease in central and western Africa, where people mainly infect animals such as wild rodents and primates and outbreaks do not flow across national borders. It shows a deviation.

According to health officials, most of the cases known in Europe were men who had sex with men, but close contact with sick people, clothing and sheets can infect anyone. Scientists say it will be difficult to determine whether the spread is due to gender or simply close contact.

Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, said:

On Monday, Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “For example, during sexual activity between people with multiple sexual partners, the virus is likely to spread further through close contact. I am. “

To date, WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in 12 countries, including Canada, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the United States and Australia.

On Monday, Denmark announced its first case, Portugal revised its total upward to 37, Italy reported one more infection, and the United Kingdom added another 37 cases.

U.S. health officials said they knew one case confirmed in Massachusetts on Monday and four possible cases: two in Utah, one in Florida, and one in New York City. Stated.All were men who traveled outside the United States

According to a government report to lawmakers obtained by AP, there are four confirmed cases in Germany related to exposure at “party events … sexual activity” in Spain’s Canary Islands and Berlin.

Madrid’s senior health officials said Monday that there were 30 confirmed cases in the Spanish capital. Enrique Luis Escudero said authorities are investigating the link between the recent gay pride event in the Canary Islands (with about 80,000 participants) and the incident in Madrid’s sauna.

Previous cases of monkeypox have been mild and no deaths have been reported. The virus usually causes fever, chills, rashes, and lesions on the face and genitals. Most people recover within a few weeks without the need for hospitalization.

Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are effective in preventing monkeypox, and several antiviral drugs have been developed. In recent years, the disease has become fatal in up to 6% of infectious diseases.

Hayman chaired an emergency meeting of the WHO advisory group on the threat of infectious diseases on Friday, assessing the outbreak and saying there was no evidence that monkeypox had changed to a more infectious form.

UN agencies suggest that the outbreak is a “very rare event” and the fact that cases have been seen in so many countries suggests that the virus may have spread quietly for some time. Said that. The agency’s European director warned that festivals and parties could accelerate the spread.

Still, in a public session on Monday, WHO officials described the outbreak as “containment” and blamed the affected groups for the disease, which could infect anyone. Warned against.

Authorities said these cases appeared to be associated with the first monkeypox virus detected in cases exported from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Israel and Singapore in 2018 and 2019.

Officials in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal have stated that most of the cases identified so far were young men who were found infected when seeking help with the lesion at a sexual health clinic.

Hayman, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the outbreak of monkeypox could be an accidental event that could result from a single infection. Said it was expensive.

“It is very likely that someone has become infected and has lesions on the genitals, hands, or elsewhere and has spread it to others when there is sexual or close physical contact,” Hayman said. Made a hypothesis. “And there were these international events around the world that brought outbreaks to the United States and other European countries.”

He emphasized that the disease is unlikely to cause widespread infection.

“This is not a COVID,” he said. “We need to slow it down, but it doesn’t spread in the air and there are vaccines to prevent it.”

Hayman needs to do a quick study to determine if monkeypox can be spread by asymptomatic people, and populations at risk of illness take precautions to protect themselves. He said it should be taken.

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