‘Sexual form of monkeypox’ blamed for global spread of virus

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

The World Health Organisation said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

As of Sunday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the UN agency said, adding it will provide further guidance and recommendations in coming days for countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.

“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic”, the agency added.

Australia reported its first confirmed cases of monkeypox on Friday in a traveller who had recently flown from Britain to Melbourne and a Sydney man who had returned from Europe.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is usually mild, and is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa. It is spread by close contact, so it can be relatively easily contained through such measures as self-isolation and hygiene.

“What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” WHO official David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist, told Reuters.

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