Monkeypox outbreaks in Africa are not among gay men, unlike in other parts of the world, World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa CDC experts said Thursday.
Outbreaks of the viral disease have been reported from 78 countries, mostly in Europe, and 98% of cases outside countries in Africa have been among men who have sex with men, the WHO said.
But in Africa, where repeated outbreaks have been recorded since the 1970s, the mode of transmission is different, experts said.
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“About 60% of the cases we have now – 350 – 60% are men, 40% are women,” said epidemiologist Dr. Otim Patrick Ramadan, answering questions about the monkeys at a media conference organized by the WHO’s regional office in Africa. , and who represent the current number of cases in the continent.
More than 80% of cases in Africa are in countries where there has been previous transmission, he said, where people are usually exposed to the virus through contact with animals that carry the virus, before passing it on to household members.
He said women usually take care of sick people at home, which is one of the reasons for the spread among women.
Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acting director Dr. Ahmed Ogwel Ouma told a special media briefing that there is no evidence that transmission between same-sex couples is a specific factor in the African outbreak.
“We’ve been collecting data on monkeypox since 1970, and that particular indicator, men having sex with men, has never come up as a significant problem here in Africa,” he said.
More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide in what WHO has declared a global health emergency.
Monkeypox is spread by close contact and causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions.
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Public health agencies emphasize that although the outbreak is among men who have sex with men in many countries, anyone can contract the virus through prolonged intimate contact or particles on objects such as bedding or towels.