Can monkeypox be sexually transmitted? Virus in sperm spark questions
As cases of monkeypox continue to appear in many countries, and after being detected in semen, many have wondered if the virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse.
On Wednesday, WHO officials, including the health agency’s incident manager for monkeypox, Catherine Smallwood, were asked about recent reports that the disease had been found in the semen of some patients in Italy.
“In terms of some of the findings in the semen, as was published last week, there are patients whose semen has been tested for the virus who have come back positive, so that’s something we let’s look into it,” Smallwood said in response.
“That doesn’t change our assessment of the current routes of transmission that we’re seeing right now, which are largely based on very close physical proximity between individuals, skin-to-skin contact, skin-to-mouth contact and that’s really what’s driving the transmission right now.”
Smallwood continued: “However, with respect to our recommendations for patients with monkeypox, once all signs and symptoms of monkeypox, including complete resolution of the rash and scabs, have resolved, we recommend patients still have safer sex with the use of condoms for up to 12 weeks as a precaution, while we better understand the presence of viruses in semen.”
According to a recent WHO update, since May 13, 28 WHO Member States have reported at least 1,285 cases of monkeypox, “where monkeypox is not usual or has not been previously reported. “.
While Smallwood noted that the main one was that monkeypox is transmitted to different people through close physical contact, the recent WHO update notes that “modes of transmission during sexual contact remain unknown; although While close physical contact is known to result in transmission, it is unclear what role sexual bodily fluids, including semen and vaginal secretions, play in the transmission of monkeypox.”
However, Andy Seale, a WHO adviser on sexually transmitted diseases, previously said, “Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You can catch a cough or a cold through sexual contact, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sexually transmitted disease. .”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released a recent update on the current transmission of monkeypox. The update listed several examples of how monkeypox can be spread, but noted that its transmission through “contact with semen or vaginal secretions” is still currently unknown.
According to CNBC, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters last week that the rash caused by monkeypox could look like syphilis or herpes.
“It’s important to be aware that cases of monkeypox can resemble certain sexually transmitted infections and can be confused with other diagnoses,” Walensky said, according to CNBC. “Health care providers should not rule out monkeypox just because a patient has another diagnosis or another STI.”
Newsweek contacted WHO for further comments.