The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the global monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern!
As of July 28, monkeypox has been detected in at least 78 countries, and reported cases are currently on the rise in the United States with NewYork seeing over 1200 cases already, according to Fox5 NY.
Multiple people on social media are claiming monkeypox can potentially spread by touching clothing, bedding and towels that have previously come in contact with a person who has the virus.
“Think twice before trying clothes on in a store, and maybe bring your own linens/towels for any hotel or Airbnb stay,” one post said.
“It clearly is spreading as an STI (sexually transmitted infection) at this point,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
To protect people at high risk while trying to contain the spread, public health agencies are focusing their attention on men— and attacking the virus based on how it’s behaving now.
Since the spread, the World Health Organization advised men at risk for monkeypox to consider reducing their sexual partners “for the moment.”
The WHO’s monkeypox expert, Rosamund Lewis, said men who have sex with men are the group at the highest risk of infection right now. About 99% of cases are among men, and at least 95% of those patients being gay men, Lewis said.
(The Washington Post)
Experts have not been able to conclude whether monkeypox represents a new type of STI, though it is clearly transmissible during sex, according to Andy Seale, an advisor to the WHO who specializes in STIs. It’s also unclear whether condoms would help reduce the risk of infection because monkeypox spreads through close physical contact similar to herpes, Seale said.
Though monkeypox is primarily spreading during sex, anyone can catch the virus through close physical contact. This includes hugging and kissing within a family, for example, as well as shared towels or bedding that are contaminated. There have been cases of women and children catching the virus during the current outbreak, although transmission appears to be low in those groups at the moment.
The CDC are working around the clock to contain the current monkeypox outbreak and learn more about the virus. However, The U.S. has reported more than 3,500 cases of monkeypox across 46 states.
WHO and CDC scientists have said the virus will have an opportunity to spread more widely if people do not take precautions by limiting the number of sex partners and anonymous sexual contact.