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Probably monkeypox is sexually transmitted at two raves in Europe: a WHO adviser


To date, the WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in dozens of countries, including Canada, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the United States and Australia.

On Monday, Denmark announced its first case, Portugal increased the total to 37, Italy reported another infection, and Britain added another 37 cases.


U.S. health officials said Monday they know of one confirmed case in Massachusetts and four probable cases – two in Utah, one in Florida and one in New York. All were men traveling outside the United States.

In Germany, there are four confirmed cases of exposure at “party events … where sexual acts took place” in the Canary Islands and Berlin, according to a government report to lawmakers obtained by the AP.

A senior health official in Madrid said on Monday that there were 30 confirmed cases in the Spanish capital. Enrique Ruiz Escudera said authorities are investigating possible links between the recent gay pride in the Canary Islands, which gathered about 80,000 people, and the cases in the Madrid sauna.

Cases of monkeypox have so far been mild, with no deaths. The virus usually causes fever, chills, rashes and lesions on the face or genitals. Most people recover within a few weeks without requiring hospitalization.

Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are effective in preventing monkeypox, and some antiviral drugs are being developed. In recent years, the disease has led to the death of up to 6 percent of infections.

Hayman chaired an emergency meeting of the WHO Infectious Disease Threats Advisory Group on Friday to assess the outbreak and said there was no evidence that monkeypox had mutated into a more infectious form.

The UN agency said the outbreak was a “very unusual event” and said the fact that cases were occurring in very different countries suggested that the virus could have been silently spreading for some time. The agency’s director for Europe warned that festivals and parties could accelerate proliferation.

However, at an open meeting on Monday, WHO officials described the outbreak as “containment” and warned against stigmatizing the affected groups, saying the disease could infect anyone.

The agency said the cases appear to be related to the monkeypox virus, which was first detected in cases exported from Nigeria to the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018 and 2019.

Authorities in the UK, Spain and Portugal said most of the cases were in young people whose infections were picked up when they sought help because of the lesions in sexual health clinics.

Heyman, who is also a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the monkey outbreak was probably an accidental event that could be traced back to a single infection.

“It is very possible that someone became infected, had lesions on the genitals, arms or elsewhere, and then spread to others when there was sexual or close physical contact,” Hayman hypothesized. “And then there were these international events that planted an outbreak around the world, in the US and other European countries.”

He stressed that the disease is unlikely to lead to widespread transmission.

“It’s not COVID,” he said. “We need to slow it down, but it’s not spreading in the air, and we have vaccines to protect against it.”

Hayman said research should be done quickly to determine whether monkeypox can spread to people without symptoms, and that populations at risk for the disease should take precautions to protect themselves.


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