Nairobi News


Gays report most cases of monkeypox as WHO spearheads fight against stigma

Most cases of monkeypox have been reported among the gay communities, the The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said more than 550 confirmed cases have now been reported from 30 countries that are not endemic to the monkeypox virus.

“So far, most monkeypox cases have been reported among men who have sex with men presenting with symptoms at sexual health clinics. But all of us must work hard to fight stigma, which is not just wrong, but could also prevent infected individuals from seeking care, making it harder to stop transmission,” Tedros said.

He further said that even as investigations to determine the spread of the virus continues, the sudden appearance of monkeypox in many countries at the same time suggests there may have been undetected transmission for some time.

These reports come a day after UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued news guidelines in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus with WHO’s leading monkeypox expert Dr Rosamund Lewis urging married couples with symptoms of monkeypox to avoid sex.

“It is not yet known whether this virus is exploiting a new mode of transmission, but what is clear is that it continues to exploit its well-known mode of transmission, which is close physical contact,” Dr Lewis said.

On the coronavirus pandemic, Tedros said that the cases that are being reported and deaths are increasing in the Americas, while deaths are also increasing in the Western Pacific region and Africa.

“Reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 continue to decline globally, although this trend should be interpreted with caution because many countries have reduced the number of tests they do, which in turn reduces the number of cases they find.”