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Editor’s note: The following account contains illustrative language about sexual transmission from monkeypox.
NBC News poked a hole in the public health narrative that skin-to-skin contact, not sex, between men is the primary vector of monkeypox in a Wednesday report, citing scientists who asked the Centers for Disease Control to release their communications to update the infectious disease.
NBC’s Benjamin Ryan reported that mounting evidence in recent weeks has “suggested that experts may have backtracked the typical transmission route of monkeypox.”
“Since the global monkeypox outbreak began in May, public health and infectious disease experts have been telling the public that the virus is transmitted largely through skin-to-skin contact, particularly during sex between men,” NBC reported. “Now, however, a growing cadre of experts has come to the conclusion that sex between men themselves – both anal and oral sex – is probably the main reason for the worldwide transmission of monkeypox. The skin-to-skin contact associated with sex, these experts say, is likely a much lower risk factor.”
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Accurate information about the highest risk transmission behavior is critical as it informs recommendations on isolation, risk of infection and other factors. It cited studies that found the virus in semen, with one scientist noting that “a growing body of evidence suggests that sexual transmission, particularly through semen, is occurring in the current MPX outbreak.”
Among the other evidence cited to support the claim was the prevalence of the disease in men aged 18 to 44 (more than 75 percent of global cases) and the majority of cases occurring in the anorectal or genital areas, suggesting sexual transmission suggesting when the virus is first transmitted is a long.
“As a result, scientists told NBC News that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies should update their monkeypox communication strategies to reflect the central importance of sexual intercourse between gay and bisexual men, which make up almost all cases in the United States, to the virus.” more ‘spread,'” NBC reported.
A Medium blog quoted on NBC by Dr. Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz and Jeffrey D. Klausner found strong evidence that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease.
“…the temporal and anatomical association with various sexual practices, the high prevalence of sexual risk behaviors in human monkeypox patients, and the in vitro The infectivity of human monkeypox DNA isolated from semen strongly suggests that human monkeypox is transmitted through sexual activity,” they wrote, while chafing at the potential “stigma” of labeling it an STI.
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“Conversely, failure to adequately identify and disseminate to the public the dominant mode of transmission is likely to perpetuate behaviors that drive transmission,” they wrote.
The World Health Organization, however, pushed back with its technical director claiming “we don’t know yet” how monkeypox is primarily transmitted.
The CDC’s monkeypox guidelines currently state: “Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin, contact, including “direct contact with a monkeypox rash, scab, or bodily fluids of a person with monkeypox,” “touching objects, fabrics (clothing, sheets or towels) and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox” and “contact with respiratory secretions”.
The report comes as the CDC, a public punching bag for more than two years over its controversial handling of the coronavirus pandemic, released a report by Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“For 75 years, the CDC and public health have prepared for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance has not reliably lived up to expectations,” she said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post this week. “My goal is a new public health-centric culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.”
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Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.