Are gay men the only ones who can get monkey pox?

Questions from Roger

“Are gay men really more likely to get monkey pox?”

Hi Roger,

According to researchers studying this “new” disease, monkey pox is most likely transmitted through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person with an active lesion, or through prolonged exposure to airway droplets from a person with oral lesions. Sexual relationships would therefore a priori fall within this framework of “closeness” between two individuals.

The increase in the number of cases could thus be linked to certain prevalent events within the gay community, which explains a higher incidence among gay and bisexual men. But that does not mean “in any way”, according to the American epidemiologist John Brooks, it “the current risk of being exposed to monkey pox only affects the gay and bisexual community”.

Like HIV in the 1980s, a potentially sexually transmitted disease “choose” not his hosts based on their sexuality. “The HIV / AIDS pandemic had also started with pollution of certain sections of society, especially the male gay communities and people exchanging needles”, explains French epidemiologist Antoine Flahault to AFP. But it spread everywhere in a few years.

“Then we saw the pandemic spread to other groups of the population, transfused patients, sex workers, then heterosexual couples and newborns of infected mothers”, he adds. Another peculiarity to note: people over the age of 50 seem immune to monkey pox, because until 1979, the French were forcibly vaccinated against smallpox.

If the scientist indicates that sexual transmission is not really established, the thesis favors “close and prolonged contact with an infected person with vesicles on the skin”, he then assesses that at least there is no need to see [la maladie] limited to gay men. Other population groups may be affected, especially children and heterosexual couples.

Have a good day.

Monkey pox or “simian orthopoxvirus” is a rare disease if the pathogen can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa.

When the virus reaches humans, it is mainly from various wild animals, e.g. rodents or primates. Human-to-human transmission is limited, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its symptoms, in less severe cases, are similar to those previously observed in those affected by smallpox: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, during the first five days. Then rashes (on the face, palms, soles of the feet), lesions, pustules and finally crusts appear.

It was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in a 9-year-old boy living in an area from which smallpox had been eliminated since 1968.

Since 1970, human cases of monkey pox have been reported in 10 African countries.

In the spring of 2003, cases were also confirmed in the United States, marking the first appearance of this disease outside the African continent.

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