On Monday, the World Health Organization confirmed that the monkeypox is primarily spreading in Europe and North America through sexual activity among homosexual men.
The virus is not itself sexually transmitted, but WHO officials noted that many viruses can nonetheless spread via sexual contact and that the leading theory is that the unprecedented spread of monkeypox in the developed world is that it begun in events 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,” said Dr. David Heymann of the WHO.
“It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions … and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close, physical contact,” he explained, adding that “these international events … seeded the outbreak around the world, into the U.S., and other European countries” as The Epoch Times reported.
“Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You could get a cough or a cold through sexual contact, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a sexually transmitted disease,” said Andy Seale, an adviser to the WHO on STDs.
The United States has so far reported two cases of the virus, which has been present in Africa for years.
“We’ve seen a few cases in Europe over the last five years, just in travelers, but this is the first time we’re seeing cases across many countries at the same time in people who have not traveled to the endemic regions in Africa,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis during the livestreaming event.
The CDC issued a warning to the LGBT community about its prevalence among homosexual and bisexual men.
“Some groups may have a greater chance of exposure right now, but by no means is the current risk of exposure to monkeypox exclusively to the gay and bisexual community in the US,” said Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, as CNN reported. “Anyone, anyone, can develop [and] spread monkeypox infection, but … many of those affected in the current global outbreak identified as gay and bisexual men.”
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