Monkeypox: Experts suspect the disease could be sexually transmissible

The most recent UK cases are being recorded among gay or bisexual men, prompting calls for men who have sex with to be aware of unusual rashes or lesions.

Monkeypox virus could be spread through sexual intercourse, experts have warned as more cases of the disease are being recorded across the UK. Although transmissible through close contact with an infected person, there is growing evidence in the medical community to suggest it could be spread to sex, according to The Sun.

Caution to gay and bisexual men

The most recent cases of the virus recorded in the UK were diagnosed in men who identified as gay or bisexual. This has given experts reason to believe sexual intercourse with an infected person could be a mode of transmission. Head of the UK Health Security Agency leading the team investigating the virus, Mateo Prochazka says:

Close contact between two people (such as during sex) could facilitate transmission - but this has never been described before. However, the high proportion of cases in the current outbreak in England that are gay or bisexual (4/7, 57 per cent) is highly suggestive of spread in sexual networks.

UKHSA is therefore encouraging men who have sex with men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions, and to contact their local sexual health service should they have any concerns, the BBC reports.

Monkeypox

The disease which is relatively rare, is thought to come from humans getting into close contact with wild animals and is not easily spread between people. Until now, cases were restricted to West and Central Africa. More cases are being diagnosed across Europe, the US and Canada.

It is also spread when one gets in contact with monkeypox scabs or with a person who’s coughing, sneezing or having rashes. Virologist, Dr Michael Skinner at the Imperial College London, said:

Monkeypox seems to require close contact to spread, we’ve seen infection of close family or household members and carers in hospitals, which might also include intimate contact. Depending on the stage of infection, close range respiratory or droplet transmission can probably occur.

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