GENEVA (AFP) – The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday advised men at risk of monkeypox to consider limiting their sexual partners “for now” after the United Nations health agency declared the escalating outbreak in several countries a global emergency. .
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 98 percent of monkeypox cases detected since the outbreaks emerged in May were among gay, bisexual and other men who had sex with men. He called on those at risk to take steps to protect themselves.
“This means making safe choices for yourself, others, and MSM,” Tedros said. “This includes, for the time being, reducing the number of your sexual partners.”
Read more: What are the symptoms of monkeypox? Here’s what you need to know
The WHO chief said infected individuals should be isolated and gatherings involving close physical contact should be avoided, while people should have contact details of any new sexual partners in case they need to follow up later.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not suggested that MSM reduce their sexual partners, only that they avoid skin contact with people who have a rash that could be monkeypox.
World Health Organization officials have confirmed that monkeypox can infect anyone in close contact with a patient or their contaminated clothing or sheets. The UN health agency has warned that the disease can be more severe in vulnerable groups such as children or pregnant women.
To date, more than 19,000 cases have been reported in more than 75 countries; Deaths have only been reported in Africa.
“We know very clearly that one of the main routes of exposure to this particular disease is through direct contact, close contact, skin-to-skin contact, possibly even face-to-face contact, and exposure to droplets or viruses that may be in the mouth,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, Technical Officer WHO on monkeypox.
Andy Seal, the WHO’s adviser on HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, said experts have determined that the current monkeypox outbreak is “clearly transmitted during sex,” but said they had not yet concluded whether it was A sexually transmitted infection.
Read more: To Respond to Monkeypox: A Guide to Health Officials Aware of the Failed AIDS Crisis
Dr Hugh Adler, who treats monkeypox patients in the UK, said monkeypox is transmitted during sex and that sexual networking and anonymous sex with untraceable partners facilitates its spread.
“Monkeypox has probably always been able to transmit and present like this, but it has never been officially reported or widely spread before,” he said.
Last week, British authorities issued new guidelines advising doctors that people with just one or two lesions may be contagious to monkeypox, which could complicate efforts to stem transmission.
The European Union’s health commissioner urged the bloc’s 27 member states on Wednesday to intensify their efforts to tackle the outbreak in the European Union, which she described as “the epicenter of detected cases”.
In a letter to European health ministers obtained by the Associated Press, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides called for “enhanced, coordinated and coordinated action”.
“There is no time for complacency and we need to continue working together to control the outbreak,” she wrote.
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