Updated: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 10:29 AM IST
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday advised men at risk of catching monkeypox to consider reducing s*xual partners "for the moment". This came after the global health body found that 98 per cent of monkeypox cases since May were reported among gay, bisexual, and other men who have s*x with men.
"That means making safe choices for yourself and others, for men who have s*x with men," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. "This includes, for the moment, reducing your number of s*xual partners."
WHO's advice has sparked concerns about whether monkeypox is a s*xually transmitted disease (STD) or not as most of the cases are spreading through unprotected s*x. However, experts differ on this and say that the infection is not restricted to s*x, and anyone can get infected.
They argue that people who are exposed to infected patients are also at the risk of catching monkeypox as the virus spreads through direct close contact. They say that s*xual activities like kissing and penetrative vaginal or anal s*x can increase the risk of transmission.
"This contact can happen during intimate contact including oral, anal, and vaginal s*x, or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with monkeypox," Dr Dhiren Gupta, a senior consultant at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told news agency ANI.
"Hugging, massages, and kissing, as well as prolonged face-to-face contact, could also lead to contraction of the virus," Dr Gupta added.
Experts also believe that monkeypox, a viral infection with smallpox like symptoms, can also transmit via contaminated materials such as linens, bedding, electronics, and clothing that have infectious skin particles.
"We should all know about the transmission root of this virus. It spreads by close contact, skin-to-skin contact, and droplet infection. So, we have to be careful about all these factors," Dr Satish Koul, Director of Internal Medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE AVOID CATCHING MONKEYPOX?
Health experts say that people must avoid coming in contact with a person infected with monkeypox. They say that the primary measures to control the outbreak are contact tracing and isolation.
"Always wash hands properly and use an effective alcohol-based sanitiser. Never avoid using masks," IANS quoted Dr Manisha Arora, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, as saying.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MONKEYPOX?
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes.
"This is followed or accompanied by the development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body," it said on its website.