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Editor’s Note: The following report contains graphic language about the sexual transmission from monkey pox.
NBC News poked a hole in the public health story that skin-to-skin contact, rather than sex between men, was the main carrier of monkeypox in a report Wednesday, citing scientists urging the Centers for Disease Control to say to their communication on the infectious disease.
Benjamin Ryan of NBC reported that growing evidence in recent weeks “has suggested that experts have estimated the typical transmission route of monkeypox to be exactly the opposite.”
“Since the global monkeypox outbreak began in May, public health and infectious disease experts have told the public that the virus is largely transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, particularly during sex between men,” NBC reported. “Now, however, a growing number of experts have come to believe that sex between men themselves — both anal and oral intercourse — is likely the leading cause of monkeypox transmission worldwide. The skin contact associated with sex, these experts say, is likely to be much less. a risk factor.”
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Accurate information about the behaviors most at risk for transmission is critical, as it plays a role in recommendations on isolation, infection risk, and other factors. It cited studies that found the virus in semen, with one scientist noting that “a growing body of evidence supports that sexual transmission, particularly through seminal fluids, occurs with the current MPX outbreak.”
An employee of Westchester Medical Center applies a monkeypox vaccine to a person at a drive-through vaccination center for monkeypox at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, US, July 28, 2022.
Other evidence cited for the claim was the prevalence of the disease among men aged 18-44 (more than 75 percent of global cases), with most cases occurring in the anorectal or genital areas, which indicates sexual transmission when the virus is first transmitted along.
Therefore, scientists told NBC News that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities should update their monkeypox communication strategies to place greater emphasis on the centrality of intercourse between gay and bisexual men, which comprise nearly all U.S. cases, for the virus “spread,” NBC reported.
A Medium blog quoted in NBC by Drs. Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz and Jeffrey D. Klausner found strong evidence that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease.
“…the temporal and anatomical association with different sexual practices, the high prevalence of sexual risk behavior in patients with human monkeypox, and the in vitro infectivity of human monkeypox DNA isolated from semen strongly suggests that human monkeypox is transmitted through sexual activity,” they wrote, while concerned about the potential “stigma” of labeling it as an STD.
A greyhound has contracted monkey pox in the first confirmed case of human-to-pet infection.
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Conversely, the inability to properly identify and disseminate the predominant mode of transmission to the public is likely to perpetuate the behavior that drives transmission,” they wrote.
However, the World Health Organization pushed back, with its technical director claiming “we don’t know yet” how monkeypox is primarily transmitted.
The CDC’s guidelines on monkeypox currently state, “Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including: ‘Direct contact with monkeypox rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids from a person with monkeypox,'” Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkey pox” and “Contact with respiratory secretions.”
A registered nurse is preparing a dose of monkeypox vaccine at the Salt Lake County Health Department in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
((AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File))
The report comes as the CDC, which has been a public punching bag for more than two years due to its controversial handling of the coronavirus pandemic, is undergoing a reorganization ordered by executive director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and at our big moment, our performance has not reliably lived up to expectations,” she said in a statement obtained this week by The Washington Post. “My goal is a new public health-focused action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.”
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Stephen Sorace of Fox News contributed to this report.