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  • Monkeypox outbreak likely linked to sex at two European raves, says WHO adviser

    Monkeypox outbreak likely linked to sex at two European raves, says WHO adviser

    An adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) said the unprecedented monkeypox outbreak in Europe and North America may have been spread via casual sex at two recent raves.

    MONKEYPOX LINKED TO EUROPEAN RAVES

    According to The Associated Press (AP), Dr David Heymann, an ex-head of the WHO emergencies department, described the monkeypox outbreak as “a random event.”

    As previously reported, most of the monkeypox infections were found in men who have sex with men.

    Heymann explained to AP that the leading theory to explain the disease’s spread was sexual transmission at raves held in Spain and Belgium.

    “We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” he said.

    The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the sexual transmission of monkeypox has not yet been proven and it is believed that transmission between sexual partners may occur when contact is made with infectious skin.

    The first monkeypox cases detected displayed a vesicular rash illness that was reported via sexual health services. The NICD said genital lesions have previously been uncommon and reflect a unique aspect of the current outbreak.

    According to AP, the way the disease is believed to be spreading is a significant departure from its typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa where it is endemic and people are mainly infected by rodents and primates.

    While sexual transmission is being touted as a possible cause of infection, it is important to note that anyone can be infected if they have close contact with a sick person, their clothing or bed sheets. Scientists said it would be difficult to determine whether monkeypox is being spread by close contact or sex.

    “By nature, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, whatever a person’s sexual orientation and irrespective of the mode of transmission,” said Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, to AP.

    READ MORE: NICD monkeypox update: No cases detected in SA but risk of importation ‘a reality’

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