Monkeypox: How 2 gay and bisexual raves held in Spain and Belgium started Monkeypox

Monkeypox: How Gay and Bisexual men in Spain and Belgium started Monkeypox

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Gay and bisexual men at the center of monkeypox

Gay and bisexual men may be responsible for the spread of monkeypox according to medical experts. 

On Monday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned gay and bisexual men that monkeypox appears to be spreading in the community globally.

Dr. John Brooks, a CDC official said many of the people affected globally so far are men who identify as gay or bisexual. 

“We want to help people make the best informed decisions to protect their health and the health of their community from monkeypox,” Brooks said.

How Monkeypox started


While Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it can be transmitted through sexual and intimate contact as well as through shared bedding. The virus spreads through contact with body fluids and sores

According to medical experts some risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe may have been the root cause for the spread of the rare monkeypox.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, said the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves held in Spain and Belgium.

Spanish health authorities led by Madrid regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero told journalists that health officials believe that a string of new monkeypox cases is linked to a gay sauna near Madrid and a Pride event in the Canary Islands that drew tens of thousands of people. The gay sauna has since been closed.

Elsewhere in Europe, an outbreak of monkeypox in Belgium has been connected to visitors at the Darklands fetish festival which wend down in early May, PinkNews  reports.

“The health department of the Belgian government has confirmed three cases of the monkeypox virus linked to visitors at Darklands,” read a statement on the festival’s website.

Europe not Africa responsible for Monkeypox

Monkeypox is endemic in animals mostly found in Africa. However, unlike in the past where people in  in central and western Africa were mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates this time round Europe is responsible for the spread of Monkeypox and the virus is being transmitted sexually.

“Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You could get a cough or a cold through sexual contact, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a sexually transmitted disease,” said Andy Seale, who advises the WHO on HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections.

To date, WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries including Britain, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the U.S. and Australia.

Signs and symptoms of MonkeyPox

Signs and symptoms of MonkeyPox

Monkeypox usually begins with symptoms similar to the flu including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. It then progresses to body rashes on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth or genitals that turn into raised bumps which then become blisters.

Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox but is not as severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, monkeypox can kill as many as 1 in 10 people who contract the disease, based on observations in Africa.


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