A top adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed the unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in developed nations as “a random event” that might be explained by sexual behaviour at two recent raves.
Dr David Heymannn, who was the former head of the WHO’s emergencies department, said that the leading theory out of many put forward to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves in Europe.
Monkeypox has not earlier targeted widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.
Dr Heymann said, “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.”
That notes a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central as well as western Africa, where people are basically infected by animals like wild rodents & primates and outbreaks have not spilled around borders.
Whereas, most of the health officials have mentioned that the majority of the cases in Europe are coming from men’s side who are having sex with men, but anyone can be infected via close contact with sick person, their clothing or bedsheets. Scientists say it will be difficult to establish whether the spread is being driven by sex or merely close contact.
One of the virologists at Imperial College London, Mike Skinner, said, “By nature, the sexual activity involves contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, whatever a person’s sexual orientation and irrespective of the mode of transmission.”
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s director, Andrea Ammon, said, “The likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact, for example, during sexual activities among persons with multiple sexual partners, is considered to be high.”
The WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries, including Canada, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the US and Australia. On Monday, Denmark made an announcement about its first case, Portugal revised its total up to 37, Italy reported one further infection, and Britain added 37 more cases.