Around 95% of monkeypox cases have been spread via sexual activity, as per the largest study to date, which also noted new clinical single genital lesions.
The research, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, came as World Health Organization experts debated whether to classify the outbreak as a global health emergency, the highest alarm it can sound.
The new paper which has been led by scientists at the Queen Mary University of London, looked at 528 confirmed infections in 16 nations, between April 27 and June 24, 2022.
First author John Thornhill, mentioned in a statement, “It is crucial to add that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted problem in the traditional sense; it can be acquired via any kind of close physical contact.”
He further added, “However, our work suggests that most transmission so far have been related to sexual activity- mainly, but not exclusively, amongst men who have sex with men.”
“This research study increases our understanding of the ways it is spread and the groups in which it is spreading, which will aid rapid identification of new cases and allow us to offer prevention strategies.”
Overall, 98% of infected people were gay or bisexual men, 41 per cent had HIV and the median age was 38.
Their median number of sex partners in the early three months was five, and around a third were known to have visited sex-on-site venues such as sex parties or saunas within the previous month.
Although sexual activity was the reason behind the majority of cases, the research has noted in the statement that the virus can be spread via any close physical contact, such as respiratory droplets and potentially through clothing and other surfaces.