Monkeypox cases in Africa not concentrated in gay men, WHO says

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Monkeypox epidemics in Africa are not concentrated among gay men, unlike other parts of the world, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa CDC said on Thursday.

Outbreaks of the viral disease have been reported in 78 countries, mostly in Europe, and 98% of cases outside of countries in Africa where it is endemic have been reported in men who have sex with men, according to the WHO.

But in Africa, where repeated outbreaks have been documented since the 1970s, the transmission mode is different, experts said.

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“Currently 60% of the cases we have – the 350 – 60% are male, 40% are female,” said epidemiologist Dr Otim Patrick Ramadan, who was answering questions about monkeypox during a briefing. press organized by the WHO Regional Office in Africa. , and which referred to the number of current cases on the continent.

The WHO reports that monkeypox cases in Africa are not concentrated in gay men, unlike other countries with outbreaks.  pine

The WHO reports that monkeypox cases in Africa are not concentrated in gay men, unlike other countries with outbreaks. pine
(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

He said more than 80% of cases in Africa were in countries where transmission had already occurred and that typically people were initially exposed to the virus through contact with animals that carried it, before passing it on. to family members.

I added that women usually take care of sick people at home, which was one of the factors of spread among women.

Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a separate press conference that there was no evidence that transmission among gay men is a specific factor in African epidemics.

“We have been collecting data on monkeypox since 1970 and this particular indicator, men who have sex with men, has never been a significant issue here in Africa,” he said.

More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide in what the WHO has declared a global health emergency.

Monkeypox is spread through close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions.

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Public health agencies have pointed out that although in many countries epidemics are concentrated in men who have sex with menanyone can contract the virus through prolonged close contact or through particles on items such as bedding or towels.