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Monkeypox outbreaks in Africa are not concentrated among gay men, unlike other parts of the world World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa CDC said on Thursday.
According to WHO, outbreaks of the viral disease have been reported in 78 countries, mostly in Europe, and 98% of cases outside of Africa, where it is endemic, occur in men who have sex with men.
But in Africa, where repeated outbreaks have been reported since the 1970s, transmission scheme different, experts say.
“Currently, 60% of the cases we have – 350-60% – are men, 40% are women,” said epidemiologist Dr. Autumn Patrick Ramadan, who answered questions about monkeypox at a media briefing organized by the regional WHO office in Africa. , and who meant the number of current cases on the continent.
He said that more than 80% of cases in Africa were in countries where transmission had occurred before, and that, as a general rule, people were initially exposed to the virus through contact with animals carrying it, before passing it on to family members.
He added that women usually cared for the sick at home, which was one factor in the spread among women.
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a separate media briefing that there is no evidence that gay transmission of the virus was a specific factor in the outbreaks in Africa.
“We have been collecting data on monkeypox since 1970 and this particular indicator, that is, men having sex with men, has never been a major problem here in Africa,” he said.
More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide, which the WHO has declared a global health emergency.
Monkeypox is spread by close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and purulent skin lesions.
Public health authorities emphasize that while outbreaks in many countries concentrated among men who have sex with menanyone can contract the virus through prolonged close contact or from particles on items such as bedding or towels.