Sunday, August 14, 2022

Monkeypox: WHO advises gay men against multiple sex partners

WHO figures on Wednesday showed that some 98 per cent of the reported cases involved men who have sexual contact with multiple other men.

• July 27, 2022
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

In its first concrete recommendation since the outbreak of the monkeypox disease, the World Health Organisation has warned that men who have sex with multiple men have higher risk of being infected.

WHO figures on Wednesday showed that some 98 per cent of the reported cases involved men who have sexual contact with multiple other men.

The WHO asked this group to, for the moment, reduce the number of sexual partners, reconsider sex with new partners, and exchange contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed.

However, the organisation stressed that anyone can be infected.

“In addition to transmission through sexual contact, monkeypox can also be spread in households through close contact between people, such as hugging and kissing, and on contaminated towels or bedding,’’ WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

He added that the outbreak could be stopped, “if countries, communities and individuals inform themselves, take the risks seriously, and take the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups,’’ Mr Ghebreyesus said.

Mr Ghebreyesus said that regarding vaccination against monkeypox, there are still open questions about the effectiveness or who exactly should be vaccinated.

The WHO does not recommend mass vaccination, but “targeted vaccination for those exposed to someone with monkey pox, and for those at high risk of exposure, including health workers, some lab workers, and those with multiple sexual partners.’’

More than 18,000 cases from 78 countries have been reported to the WHO, with more than 70 per cent of infections recorded in European countries, many of which had previously known virtually no monkeypox cases.

On July 23, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak an “emergency of international concern.” 

(dpa/NAN)

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