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Experts Condemn Racist And Homophobic Reporting On Monkeypox Cases

"Anyone who has close physical contact of any kind with someone who has monkeypox is at risk, regardless of who they are."

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Nature seems pretty content to keep throwing deadly plagues at us, as Europe reports an unprecedented rise of monkeypox across the continent.

Two cases of the disease have already been confirmed in Melbourne and Sydney, both detected in travellers returning from Europe and England respectively.

The primate pestilence takes its name from smallpox, with the two viruses sharing the genus family Orthopoxvirus. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus initially manifest as chills, headaches and fevers before progressing into nasty skin lesions that pustulate across the body. The virus historically has a low transmission rate for human hosts, and usually spreads via infected animals.

Monkeypox’s spread outside of Central and Western Africa (where it is endemic) has shocked scientists, as the virus has rarely been recorded spreading between borders. Ninety-two cases of monkeypox have been confirmed with Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom being hit the hardest.

Today, the World Health Organisation has come out with a very unorthodox explanation for the global spread of the virus, involving two separate raves in Belgium and Spain.

“What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” WHO Researcher Dr David Heymann told Reuters.

While two different raves in Spain and Belgium are being investigated as potential super-spreader events for the virus, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has condemned reporting over monkeypox for being racist and homophobic.

As reported by The Guardian, UNAIDS says that a “significant” portion of the new monkeypox cases have been detected in gay or bi-sexual men, but stressed that the transmission “could happen to anyone”.

“Anyone who has close physical contact of any kind with someone who has monkeypox is at risk, regardless of who they are, what they do, who they choose to have sex with or any other factor,” the WHO said in a statement. “Stigma and discrimination are never ok, and it is not ok in relation to this outbreak. We are all in this together.”