There have been 4,907 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now the World Health Organization is telling gay men to have fewer sex partners to help curb the spread.
The monkeypox virus causes fever, body aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and eventually “pox,” or painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands, and feet, NPR reported.
One version of monkeypox has been found to kill up to 10 percent of people infected. Most often, people contract monkeypox from animals in West or Central Africa when people kill or prepare bushmeat for consumption and import the virus to other countries. Person-to-person transmission isn’t common. The exchange of bodily fluids such as saliva from coughing or pus from the lesions is necessary for the infection to be passed from person to person.
The WHO is now recommending that gay and bisexual men limit the number of sexual partners they have.
About 99 percent of monkeypox cases are among men, and at least 95 percent of those patients are men who have sex with other men, according to WHO official Rosamund Lewis.
“For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering considering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNBC.
The WHO has declared a global health emergency in response to the rapid increase. The current outbreak is spreading widely in Europe and North America, where the virus isn’t normally found. The virus has historically been found in remote parts of West and Central Africa.
The epicenter is currently in Europe, reporting more than 70 percent of monkeypox cases. The Americas have seen about 25 percent of monkeypox cases, with the U.S. the center of the outbreak in the Western Hemisphere, according to WHO and CDC data.
Photo: Parade-goers from the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus walk in the NYC Pride March on June 26, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)