Is Monkeypox a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

28 May, 2022 09:41 IST|L Manisha

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky highlighted that some patients in the United States had not been to countries with current epidemics, implying that the virus is spreading domestically. According to health experts in these nations, a majority of patients are homosexual or bisexual males, with the virus spreading through intercourse in many cases. 

However, experts emphasised that monkeypox may spread to anybody, regardless of sexual orientation, through intimate physical contact. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted virus. The virus can be spread by any sustained skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual who has a lesion. If a person has a lesion in their mouth, it can potentially spread through bodily fluids, contaminated bed sheets and clothes, or respiratory droplets.

The monkeypox virus has spread to more than 20 countries, with over 200 confirmed cases and over 100 suspected cases in regions where it is not normally prevalent, said the World Health Organization (WHO). 

As cases of the deadly disease increase, the World Health Organization has encouraged governments to strengthen surveillance. According to Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's Covid-19 technical lead, additional cases of the uncommon viral infection will certainly be recorded as surveillance grows, but the current spread is manageable.

"It's a controllable situation.  It will be challenging, but in non-endemic nations, the situation is manageable," said  Maria Van Kerkhove. Monkeypox has expanded to North America and Europe in recent weeks, after the first recorded case on May 7 in the United Kingdom. 

The outbreak is being driven by a milder West African variant of the virus, and the majority of patients recover in a few of weeks. So yet, no deaths have been recorded.

The European Union (EU) has verified 118 cases of monkeypox, as per the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. With 51 and 37 cases, Spain and Portugal have recorded the greatest outbreaks in the EU. The virus has been verified in 90 cases by the UK Health Security Agency. According to the study, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found nine cases across seven states, while Canadian health officials verified 16 cases of monkeypox, all of which were diagnosed in the province of Quebec.

According to the research, Van Kerhkove advised health-care providers to consider monkeypox as a diagnosis for patients with rash diseases who present to sexual health clinics, emergency departments, infectious disease clinics, primary-care physicians, and dermatologists.

"It doesn't mean that anybody with a rash has monkeypox, but we need to raise knowledge about what monkeypox is and isn't, and we need to ensure that nations have the capacity to test for it and deliver correct info, "Van Kerhkove added.  

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