Found in semen, has Monkeypox become sexually transmitted?

The Monkeypox virus has been found in the semen of infected patients in Italy and Germany. This discovery, published in a scientific journal, rekindled the hypothesis of a possible sexual transmission, but nothing has yet been proven. Explanations with a specialist.

Fragments of the Monkeypox virus have been detected in the semen of patients in Italy at the country’s top infectious disease hospital, Spallanzani in Rome. The twenty positive cases of the virus recorded in Italy are all men.

According to an article by researchers at Spallanzani in Eurosurveillance, the journal of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which detailed sequencing of the virus carried out in Italy, it would be “plausible” that men positive for the virus l contracted the disease during sexual intercourse.

The conclusions of the study therefore raise the possibility of sexual transmission of the disease, without however providing concrete and definitive proof. One thing is certain, for the moment, many confirmed cases concern sexual partners.

Also in Germany, scientists have discovered DNA from the virus in the semen of two patients. Contacted by MoroccoLatestNews, Dr. Tayeb Hamdi, researcher in health policies and systems, indicates that the discovery of the virus in the semen of infected patients does not necessarily mean that contagion was made through sexual contact.

“The cases recorded so far are for the overwhelming majority of young men who have sex with men, this is not synonymous with a sexually transmitted disease,” he warned.

Contagion of monkeypox occurs through contact through the skin, through the respiratory route through droplets, and indirectly (through clothing, editor’s note).

The doctor believes that if the number of cases is high among men today, it would probably be because of the LGBT festivities that took place recently on the Canary Islands and in Belgium because “obviously when there is a sexual relationship, there is contact with the skin.

“Finding fragments of the virus in semen does not prove that the disease is sexually transmitted,” he said, adding that so far genetic sequencing of the virus has not found a mutation in the virus that could explain a new form of Monkeypox transmission.

It is therefore the same virus that circulated before this wave of epidemic. Tayeb Hamdi explains in this sense, “for the virus to change its behavior, there must be a genetic mutation, which is not the case at the moment”.

However, the fact that there is a predominance of cases in homosexual men is “an element to be taken into consideration, which gives more food for thought” on the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease “but we are very, very far to say that it is a sexually transmitted disease (…) it would be a shortcut that should not be taken

Additionally, he points out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against making links between Monkeypox and sexually transmitted diseases or targeting gay men.

The Monkeypox epidemic has affected more than 1,000 cases worldwide in recent weeks, precisely in 28 countries including Morocco. All the cases recorded worldwide come from the same West African strain and affect patients who have not made any trip to one of the countries where the virus is normally endemic.

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