98% of those infected with monkeypox are gay or bisexual men, study shows

A new study published in the medical journal NEJM this month shows that 95% of those affected by monkeypox in the outbreak of 2022 are gay or bisexual men, with an average age of 41 years, with sexual contact being the probable means of transmission of the disease in 95% of cases. The collaborative research involved more than 21 healthcare professionals around the world, who analyzed samples of 528 patients infected with monkeypox, in 16 countries. The researchers found that 41% of them are carriers of the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, and six among 10 were using a drug known as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a preventive combination of antiretrovirals given to people not infected with HIV. , but exposed to situations that are highly vulnerable to the virus, such as risky sexual behavior.

To investigate the role of sexual intercourse in the transmission of monkeypox, in addition to men’s history of erotic events, the authors of the study noted that 91% of a subgroup tested had the virus in their seminal fluid. Although it is not possible to directly affirm sexual transmission, the researchers point out that, when analyzing the sexual activity of 406 men in the sample, the minimum number of sexual partners of them in the previous trimester was three, and the maximum was 16. Scientists also separated a group of 377 from men to analyze other sexually transmitted diseases, and 62 % tested positive.

Speaking to the press this Wednesday (21 )), World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged men who have sex with men to reduce their risk of exposure. “This includes, for the time being, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and sharing contact details with any new partners to allow for follow-up if necessary,” he stated.

The most common symptoms among those infected with monkeypox were skin irritations (95%), with the majority having less than ten lesions (64%), usually in the form of pustules (58%). Genital lesions or annals appeared in 62% of cases, and 30 % of these men had a single wound on the penis — the same number had lesions on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. % felt fever, a similar amount had inflammation in the lymph nodes, and less than half felt lethargy, muscle pain and headache.There were no deaths, only 13% needed hospitalization

The incubation period of the simian smallpox orthopoxvirus was an average of seven days, ranging from three to 1970 days. Unlike the Covid virus 19, which uses RNA as its genetic material, the simian orthopoxvirus uses DNA. The first human case was documented in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, during the smallpox vaccination campaign. Despite its name, monkeypox has rodents as its most common reservoir in nature, especially in Africa, where rodents came from that caused an outbreak of the disease in the United States at the beginning of the years 2000.

In addition to sexual contact, transmission can also occur through large respiratory droplets, the type that masks bar, direct contact with an infected person’s skin eruptions, in addition to objects on which contact may have been made, like bedding. The researchers think that the virus may have circulated in endemic areas of Africa, confused with other sexually transmitted diseases.

The study published in the journal NEJM used data from the detection of monkeypox by the chain reaction method. of polymerase (PCR), one of the most accurate for detection of pathogens. Of the 528 cases analyzed, 528 were male (509 declared themselves to be homosexual, 10 bisexual and 9 heterosexual) and 1 patient was trans. The age of the patients ranged from 21 to 62 years, with an average of 41 years. In South America, cases were collected in Argentina, but not in Brazil. Share first authorship of the John Thornhill study, from three British institutions including a research funding entity from the UK National Health Service; Sapha Barkati of the McGill University Health Center in Canada; and Sharon Walsley, from the University of Toronto Health Network, in the same country.

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