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Monkeypox Outbreak Could Have Been Caused By Sex At Raves, Expert Warns

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Monkeypox Outbreak Could Have Been Caused By Sex At Raves, Expert Warns

Rising monkeypox cases across Europe have been linked to sexual transmission at two separate festivals. 

Darklands, a fetish festival that took place in Belgium this month, and Gay Pride Maspalomas in the Canary Islands, were both attended by people who later tested positive for monkeypox.

An advisor for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has now suggested monkeypox may have spread through sexual activity at the events. 

WHO expert Dr David Heymann revealed that monkeypox transmission through sex at both festivals is now a ‘leading theory’ behind the group of cases.

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Rising monkeypox cases have been linked to sexual transmission at festivals. Credit: Alamy
Rising monkeypox cases have been linked to sexual transmission at festivals. Credit: Alamy

“We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” Heymann said, the MailOnline reported.

He continued: “It's very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close physical contact.”

Heymann, who didn’t refer to either festival by name, added: “And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the US and other European countries.”

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Health chiefs have already started tracing cases back to Gay Pride Maspalomas, which ran between 5 and 15 May and was attended by 80,000 people.

Three cases of monkeypox have been linked to Belgium’s Darklands festival and event organisers have said there’s ‘reason to assume’ someone infected with the virus attended the festival. 

LADbible has approached both Gay Pride Maspalomas and Darklands for comment.

Monkeypox was first found in monkeys and can be transmitted via close physical contact, spreading through bodily fluids or close face-to-face contact in breath droplets.

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Last week, Dr Susan Hopkins, a chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), warned more cases of monkeypox are being detected daily across the UK.

The first UK case is thought to have arrived when someone travelled over from Nigeria, but recent cases don’t have known connections to countries where monkeypox is endemic.

Dr David Heymann revealed transmission at the festivals is a leading theory. Credit: Alamy
Dr David Heymann revealed transmission at the festivals is a leading theory. Credit: Alamy

Speaking on BBC One’s Morning Show, Hopkins said: “We are detecting more cases on a daily basis and I’d like to thank all of those people who are coming forward for testing.”

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She added: “We are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from west Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country.

“The community transmission is largely centred in urban areas and we are predominantly seeing it in individuals who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Health, Festivals

Aisha Nozari
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