Public health officials in Los Angeles have confirmed what they believe is the first known case of monkeypox in the state of California and at least the second U.S. case since 2022, after a Massachusetts man tested positive for the virus in May.
As the virus has spread outside its endemic African territory to regions where it is not normally reported – including North America and parts of Europe – Snopes’ editorial staff has seen social media posts that have inflated or distorted scientific facts about the disease to exaggerate it. danger. One such case was the Facebook post below, which compared monkeypox to AIDS and quoted unknown sources who allegedly said that “monkeypox is spread around ‘gay / gay men'”.
These social media posts implied that the properties of ape smallpox allowed the virus to spread more quickly among men who have sex with men, or that gay and bisexual men were more susceptible to infection.
This was not true. As for medical experts, there is nothing about the monkeypox virus that targets gay or bisexual men over others. Not AIDS either, actually. Transmission in such communities is largely due to human behavior and not how the virus itself behaves within the immune systems of infected people.
Since this writing, monkeypox has spread more rapidly within some communities of men having sex with other men, giving public health officials a reason to issue public warnings to the GLATQ community. On the other hand, men who have sex with other men have been found to be more susceptible to the virus compared to other people, simply because of who was currently infected and where, not because of biological characteristics of the virus. Transmission can simply be explained by human behavior. (More on that below.)
In the weeks following the first reported case, a senior adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) told The Associated Press that the “unprecedented outbreak” was likely to have begun to spread through sexual transmission during two raids in Spain and Belgium. (For the record, health experts continue to claim that monkeypox is unlikely to become a full-blown pandemic.)
“We know that monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of an infected person, and it seems that sexual contact has now strengthened that transmission,” Dr. David Heymann told the news release.
As we reported earlier, monkeypox is a DNA virus related to smallpox in the smallpox group. (DNA viruses are those that have genomes that can be reproduced by the host, meaning they use the host to make copies of themselves to further spread through the body during the course of infection.) Simiopox infections are rare, but can lead to serious. complications that begin with flu-like symptoms and progress to a generalized rash on the face and body. Although not easily transmitted between humans (the virus mostly spreads from infected animals to humans), human-to-human transmission occurs through the exchange of body fluids and touch – including sexual activities when / if contact is made with the lesions of an infected person. . – as well as common personal items, such as contaminated clothing and bedding.
In early June 2022, the UKHSA reported that a considerable number of known ape variants had occurred in gay men in Europe, according to a press release. Investigations led by the UKHSA have linked these cases to gay bars, saunas and the “use of dating programs in the UK and abroad”, but investigators claimed that “currently no single factor or finding linking the cases has been identified.” In short, transmission between gay men can simply be explained by the way the virus is transmitted, the frequency with which those sites are visited, and who is currently infected or spreading the virus. As an added layer of prevention, experts have warned all groups – especially men who have sex with men – to be alert to possible symptoms.
“Monkeypox can affect anyone, but we know that many of the most recent diagnoses are in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, many of whom live or have ties to London,” said Kevin Fenton, the Londoner. . Regional Director of Public Health. “As with any new disease, the risk of stigma and uncertainty is great.”
Regarding the 2022 outbreak, the WHO has published public health advice for men who have sex with other men.
“Some cases have been identified by sex clinics in gay, bisexual, and other male communities that have sex with men. It is important to note that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. Everyone who has close contact with someone infected, is at risk, “wrote the global health agency.
Monkeypox can be spread through close physical contact with someone who is showing symptoms, including touching and being face-to-face, and during close skin-to-skin contact during sex. This includes “kissing, touching, oral and penetrating sex.” Healthcare professionals recommend avoiding contact with anyone who is experiencing symptoms, and that symptomatic individuals be isolated at home and talking to a health care professional.
“Stigmatizing people because of illness is never good. Anyone can get or transmit monkeypox, regardless of their sexuality,” the WHO said.
A large number of monkeypox cases in 2022 have been confirmed in men who have sex with men. However, there is no evidence to suggest that gay or bisexual men are biologically more sensitive to the virus. Rather, health experts warn that the virus is spreading within that community largely due to human habits, and the WHO says men who have sex with other men are a vulnerable population. Regardless of a person’s sexuality, they can become infected with monkeypox through sexual contact – or any physical contact, however – with an infected person or through respiratory droplets or by touching skin lesions and body fluids.
“Expert: Monkeypox Probably Spread by Sex on 2 Raves in Europe.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/05/23/monkeypox-spread-european-raves/. Accessed June 3, 2022.
LIST OF PRESSES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubdetail.cfm?unit=media&ou=ph&prog=media&cur=cur&prid=3884&row=25&start=1#:~ : text = La% 20Los% 20Angeles% 20County% 20Departemento, fermu% 20contact% 20to% 20a% 20kazo. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“Log in to Facebook.” Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPTAMERICA2020%2Fposts%2Fpfbid02BCKkNHDwnaN36GLMknZutacnHBrDz5zzBTTvEtndKnXl3. Accessed June 3, 2022.
Massachusetts Public Health Officials Confirm Monkeypox Case | Meso.Gov. https://www.mass.gov/news/massachusetts-public-health-officials-confirm-case-of-monkeypox. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“Monkeypox and Gay Men: Separating Stigma from Health Advice.” BBC News, 28 May 2022. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61609888.
BBC News, 28 May 2022. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61609888.
Monkeypox: Public Health Advice for Gays, Bisexuals, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men. https://www.who.int/news/item/25-05-2022-monkeypox–public-health-advice-for-gay–bisexual-and-other-men-who-have-sex-with-men. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“UKHSA’s Latest Findings of Monkeypox Outbreak.” GOV.UK, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukhsa-latest-findings-into-monkeypox-outbreak. Accessed June 3, 2022.
GOV.UK, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukhsa-latest-findings-into-monkeypox-outbreak. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“American Case of Monkeypox Reported in Massachusetts Man.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/05/19/us-case-of-monkeypox-reported-in-massachusetts-man/. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“What is Monkeypox?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/05/19/what-is-monkeypox/. Accessed June 3, 2022.
Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/05/19/what-is-monkeypox/. Accessed June 3, 2022.
“KIIU: Monkeypox Will Not Become a Pandemic, But Many Strangers.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/05/30/who-monkeypox-not-pandemic/. Accessed June 3, 2022.