Scientists are baffled by the unusual outbreak of monopolies, a rare virus that is confined to Africa, that is widespread throughout Europe and the Americas.
The WHO states that most cases have been reported in people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, but that the virus is spread through close contact regardless of your sexual orientation.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. David Heymann, head of the WHO’s emergency department, stated that the main idea of explaining the outbreak was sexually transmitted infections (STDs) at two rave parties in Spain and Belgium.
“We know that a monkey can spread if it comes close to the wounds of someone who has the virus, and it seems that sex has increased the risk of infection,” said Heymann.
That marks a significant departure from the way the disease has spread to central and western Africa, where people are highly susceptible to predators such as wild rats and monkeys as well as outbreaks of disease that have not spread across borders.
Heymann held an emergency meeting of a group of WHO advisers on infectious disease threats on Friday to assess the ongoing epidemic and said there was no evidence that the monkey could have evolved into an infectious species.
Monkeypox has never been documented sexually transmitted, but can be transmitted through contact with infected people, their clothing, or bed sheets.
How did this eruption begin?
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) became the first European health official to publicly report a monkey case on May 7, to a man who had just flown to the UK from Nigeria.
On Monday, the agency reported 36 new cases, bringing the total to 56. UKHSA recommends screening genital sores.
Spanish and Portuguese authorities said their cases were found in many gay men and that the cases were recorded when men came out with sores on sex clinics.
But on Sunday, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) expressed concern that the focus on homosexuality and bisexuality could reinforce racism and xenophobia, and stressed that the disease could affect anyone.