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Gay and bisexual men at increased risk of contracting monkeypox virus: CDC

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials warn that while anyone can be infected with the monkeypox virus, there is an increased risk for men in the gay and bisexual community.

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“Awareness of this reality is key to enabling people to make informed decisions about their personal health and the health of their community, CDC epidemiologist Dr. John Brooks said during a telebrief Monday. .

Brooks of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention said that although the virus is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can be transmitted through personal and sexual contact, with a notable fraction of recorded cases occurring among gay men.

A patient is treated for monkeypox at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on May 19, 2022.
(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Anyone with a rash or lesions in the genital and perianal areas should be fully evaluated.

“Remember that infectious diseases don’t care about borders or social networks. Certain groups may have a greater chance of exposure at this time, but the current risk of exposure to monkeypox is by no means exclusive to the gay and bisexual community in the United States,” he added.

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Dr David Heymann, who previously headed the emergency department of the World Health Organization (WHO), told The Associated Press on Monday that the outbreak in Europe appears to have been caused by sexual activity at raves in Spain and Belgium.

The WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries, including the United States. So far, these cases have been mild and no deaths have been reported.

Traditionally, infections are spread by touching or being bitten by infected wild animals in West and Central Africa, but the United Nations organization noted that the outbreak is a “highly unusual event”.

Nonetheless, WHO officials have described the infections as “controllable”, warning against stigmatizing groups.

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Symptoms of the virus – which belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox – include fever, chills, rash and body aches, before lesions develop.

The majority of patients recover within a few weeks without requiring hospitalization.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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