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Monkeypox primarily spread via sexual contact: WHO

Monkeypox primarily spread via sexual contact: WHO

New Delhi: Raging monkeypox outbreak appears to be taking over the place of covid19 in some countries as thousands go down with infections.

As the debate over its nature of spread continues, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the 'containable' virus is primary spread through sex among men.

Since first reported on May 7 in the UK, over a dozen countries are found to have hundreds of both confirmed and suspected cases—however no deaths have been reported so far.

The WHO warned of more countries facing infections as the international body expands surveillance.

Puzzled over monkey pox cases being reported from places with no direct travel link to the endemic area, the WHO described the situation "a highly unusual event"

Rosamund Lewis, who runs the WHO's smallpox research, said for the first time cases are reported from countries in people who had not travelled to the endemic regions in Africa.

Not a sexually transmitted infection though, it is spread through semen and vaginal fluids.

The WHO said the most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among men who have sex with other men, emphasising that anyone can contract monkeypox, the CNBC reported.

Andy Seale, who advises the WHO on HIV said many diseases could be spread through sexual contact, including a cough or cold which wouldn't mean that it's sexually transmitted disease. Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

Further, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) noted that the likelihood of spread is very low for the broader population, BBC reported.

The transmission is majorly happening"through close contact for example during sexual activities amongst persons with multiple sexual partners is considered to be high", Andrea Ammon of the ECDC, was quoted as saying.

Monkeypox can be contained in countries outside of Africa where the virus is not usually detected, according the WHO.

"This is a containable situation," the WHO's emerging disease lead Maria Van Kerkhove said at a news conference on Monday.

"We want to stop human-to-human transmission. We can do this in non-endemic countries," she added, referring to recent cases in Europe and North America.

Despite being the largest outbreak outside of Africa in 50 years, monkeypox does not spread easily between people and experts say the threat is not comparable to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Transmission is really happening from skin-to-skin contact, most of the people who have been identified have more of a mild disease," Van Kerkhove said.

The WHO added that there was no evidence the monkeypox virus had mutated, following earlier speculation over the cause of the current outbreak.

Viruses in this group "tend not to mutate and they tend to be fairly stable," said Lewis.

Experts suggested countries review the availability of the smallpox vaccine which is also effective against monkeypox.

Source: IANS

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