Does Monkeypox spread through sex? WHO concerned as people party over summer in Europe

Does Monkeypox spread through sex? WHO concerned as people party over summer in Europe

Head of the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces Roman Woelfel works in his laboraty in Munich, May 20, 2022, after Germany has detected its first case of monkeypox. Reuters

Tribune Web Desk

Chandigarh, May 21

The World Health Organization's European chief said on Friday he is concerned that the spread of monkeypox could accelerate in the region as people gather for parties and festivals over the summer months.

"As we enter the summer season in the European region, with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate, as the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many," WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox. It was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. The disease occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

Symptoms

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox typically presents itself with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. The disease is usually self-limiting with the symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3-6 per cent but can be up to 10 per cent. There are no reported deaths in this current spread.

Transmission

Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. It's thought to be spread by rodents such as rats, mice and squirrels, WHO said.

The disease is transmitted through lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The virus is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness, it said.

Health officials have noted some of these infections may be transmitted through sexual contact. The WHO said it was also investigating many cases being of people identifying as gay or bisexual.

Incubation

The incubation period or interval from infection to onset of symptoms of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days but can range from five to 21 days, according to WHO.

Treatment

Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of the disease. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox, according to the global health body.

PTI/Reuters inputs

#europe #monkeypox #WHO

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