The World Health Organization is investigating reports that the monkeypox virus is present in the semen of patients.
It comes that a further 52 cases of monkeypox were detected in the UK today, bringing the total to 524 infections.
Around 1,600 cases have been detected around the world in recent weeks – something experts are calling “worrying”.
And now the WHO is investigating the possibility that the disease could be sexually transmitted.
Many cases of the current monkeypox outbreak occur in sexual partners who have been in close contact.
The agency reiterated that the virus is mainly transmitted through close human contact.
In recent days, scientists said they had discovered viral DNA in the semen of a handful of monkeypox patients in Italy and Germany.
Catherine Smallwood, monkeypox incident manager at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, said it is not known whether recent reports mean the monkeypox virus could be sexually transmitted.
She said: “That was maybe something we weren’t aware of before with this disease.
“We really need to focus on the most common route of transmission and we clearly see that being linked to skin-to-skin contact.”
Medical professionals say you should contact a sexual health clinic if you have a rash or blisters and if you have been in contact with someone who has had monkeypox in the past three weeks.
This guide also applies to those who have been to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks.
However, the WHO will also rename the virus – in a move that could refer to the disease as hMPXV.
It comes after 30 scientists wrote a letter calling for the change, fearing it could spark racism and stigma.
Anyone can get monkeypox, and prior to the current outbreak, it was mainly found in African countries.
However, experts fear that references to the disease as African are problematic.
In a letter to the organization, scientists said that “the continued reference to and nomenclature of this virus as being Africa is not only inaccurate but also discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
The note continued, “The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photographs of African patients to portray the smallpox lesions in mainstream media in the Global North.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/5568433/traces-of-monkeypox-semen-who-investigation/ Traces of monkeypox found in a patient’s semen prompt the WHO to investigate