People should reduce their number of sexual partners to help fight the spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organization has urged. Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.
People should reduce their number of sexual partners to help fight the spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged.
Dr Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO European division, has warned that the outbreak of the tropical disease “may not be containable”.
He warned that Europe had become the new epicenter of the virus, with the outbreak linked to sexual transmission at raves and festivals on the continent.
Kluge insisted the virus “will not require the same extensive population measures” as the Covid-19 pandemic, but said “significant and urgent” action was needed to prevent more cases.
The WHO stopped short of calling for contacts of known cases to be quarantined, but called for “critical” twice-daily temperature checks and “close monitoring”.
Kluge said that, while most reported cases had been concentrated among men who have sex with men, there was nothing stopping it from spreading to other groups.
Earlier this week, the WHO upgraded the global threat level of monkeypox to “moderate”, warning that community spread could lead to vulnerable patients and children catching the virus, which also spreads from touch and through interaction with contaminated surfaces or clothes.
In total, there have been 606 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the globe, with 130 more suspected since the first infection was detected at the beginning of last month.
READ: No need for monkey pox panic
About 70% of the confirmed or suspected cases have been in Europe, with the UK count now at 190. Only Spain has seen more cases.
Trans-exclusionary gay rights group LGB Alliance attracted criticism on Monday after calling for all commercial sex venues to be closed ahead of Pride Month.
Experts have previously linked the outbreak to two festivals in Europe – the Gay Pride Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Spain, which was held from May 5 to 15; and a large-scale fetish festival in Antwerp, Belgium, which ran from May 5 to 8.
The UK Health Security Agency updated its own guidance on Monday night to tell people to wear condoms during sex for eight weeks after being declared clear of the virus.
Anyone in Britain who develops a new rash or blister is being urged to quarantine and call the National Health Service – and not to leave isolation “until you’ve been told what to do”.
They have also been ordered to abstain from sex or close contact with others “until their lesions have healed and the scabs have dried off”.
Kluge this week said:
[Europe] remains at the epicenter of the largest and most geographically widespread monkeypox outbreak ever reported outside of endemic areas in western and central Africa. Many – but not all – cases report fleeting and/or multiple sexual partners, sometimes associated with large events or parties.
– Mail Online