The US health authority CDC now reports around 15,400 cases of monkeypox in 71 countries. According to a new study, 95 percent of these cases are transmitted through sexual contact - 98 percent of those infected are gay or bisexual men.
According to a study, 95 percent of monkeypox cases are the result of infection through sexual contact. For the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists evaluated 528 confirmed infections in 16 countries between April 27 and June 24.
"It's important to emphasize that monkeypox is not an STD in the traditional sense; it can be transmitted through any kind of close physical contact," said study author John Thornhill. "However, our work suggests that most transmissions are associated with sexual activity - primarily, but not exclusively, between men who have sex with men."
Because of the spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee met to discuss whether to declare a global health emergency. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was "concerned" about the increase in cases. It was unclear when the result of the nearly six-hour deliberations would be published.
At their emergency meeting in June, the experts advised the WHO Secretary-General against declaring the highest alert level. Since then, however, the cases of infection have continued to spread, with the US health authority CDC now reporting around 15,400 cases in 71 countries.
A less dangerous cousin of smallpox, which was eradicated about 40 years ago, monkeypox is commonly found in West and Central Africa. Since May, however, monkeypox has also been spreading to other countries, especially in Western Europe, including Germany.
Typical symptoms of the disease include high fever, swollen lymph nodes and pustules similar to chickenpox. The disease is transmitted through close body and skin contact.