16th Aug 2022

Monkeypox can be transmitted to sexual partners

  • 'This is the first time that chains of transmission are reported in Europe without known epidemiological links to West or Central Africa', says the ECDC (Photo: EC - Audiovisual Service)
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The EU's virus alert agency says the likelihood of monkeypox spreading among sexual partners is considered high.

"Most of these cases are in young men that self-identify themselves as men who have sex with men," Andrea Ammon who leads the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) told European lawmakers on Tuesday (14 June).

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Ammon stated that "monkeypox transmission is not related to sexual orientation," noting instead that the virus spreads due to close contact with skin lesions or respiratory droplets with a close prolonged face to face contact.

"The location of the lesions suggests that transmission occurs during sexual contact," she said. The World Health Organisation notes that anyone who has close physical contact with someone who is infectious is at risk.

Some 901 cases have so far been confirmed or suspected in the EU, including Norway and Iceland. "In the EU, it's mainly Spain, Portugal and Germany with the largest number of cases," she said.

The United Kingdom has the largest number of cases in the world, she said.

For its part, the European Commission announced it had secured a contract with Bavarian Nordic to purchase almost 110,000 vaccines doses to combat the outbreak.

Those doses will then be donated to EU states, Norway and Iceland with deliveries expected to start at the end of this month.

"This is a first and immediate response to the current monkeypox outbreak," a European commission spokesperson told reporters on Tuesday.

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