“Our work suggests that the majority of transmission so far is linked to sexual activity,” said the lead author of a study published on Thursday.
The vast majority of recent cases of monkeypox have been transmitted through sexual contact, according to the largest study to date, which also shows that the vast majority of those affected were gay men.
This study, published this Thursday in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed data from more than 520 cases in 16 different countries (Canada, United States, Europe, etc.), spread over two months between the end of April and the end of June. In total, according to the doctors who treated these cases, 95% resulted from sexual contact.
“It is important to emphasize that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection in the traditional sense; it can be caught through any close physical contact” with an infected person, the author said. principal of the study, John Thornhill.
“But our work suggests that the majority of transmission so far is linked to sexual activity.”
Majority of gay or bisexual men
The skin lesions observed, mainly anal, on the genitals or the mouth, could represent the zones of inoculation, notes the study. Semen analysis of 32 people showed the presence of virus DNA in 29 cases, but further studies are needed to determine if transmission can indeed take place by this route.
In total, 98% of the cases studied were gay or bisexual men. The median age was 38 years old. Nearly 41% were infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, but the vast majority of them were on treatment. No deaths were recorded among the cases studied, and most were mild cases.
Despite everything, 13% were hospitalized. The main reasons were pain in the anorectal region, or skin infections. But no serious complications were then observed.