The WHO (World Health Organization) announced this Tuesday (17) that it wants to clarify, with the help of the United Kingdom, the cases of monkeypox detected since the beginning of May, especially in the homosexual community.
Since May 6, seven cases of monkeypox have been detected in the country, including four people who identified themselves as “homosexual, bisexual or men who have sex with other men”, according to the British health safety agency (UKHSA).
With the exception of the first case – the infected had recently traveled to Nigeria, West Africa, where this viral disease is endemic – patients were infected in the UK, creating fears of community transmission.
“We are seeing transmissions between men who have sex with men,” which is “new information that we must properly study to better understand the dynamics” of the contagion, said Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency interventions.
Another person in charge of the organization, Maria Van Kerkhove, specified that it works “very closely” with the European Center for Disease Control and the British health safety agency to “assess (…) the source of your infection” and carry out a ” follow-up exercise”.
For its part, the UKHSA is trying to find a link between the four most recently identified cases, which appear to have been infected in London.
This disease, caused by a smallpox virus transmitted from animals to humans, is spread by contact with an infected person or their body fluids, including saliva. However, according to the UKHSA, the virus does not spread “easily” between people, so the risk to the population is “low”.
It usually appears in Africa, there is no treatment and cure on its own.
Its symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue.
Rashes, usually on the face, may appear and spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals, before going through various stages, crusting over, and falling off.
The UKHSA urged men who have sex with men to be “on the lookout for unusual rashes or lesions”.