Sexual transmission at two festivals in Europe may have sparked the world’s escalating monkeypox outbreak, a World Health Organization expert has claimed.
Dr David Heymann, who used to head the WHO’s emergencies department, revealed it was the leading theory behind the origins of the current cluster of cases.
He said: ‘We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission.
‘It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close physical contact.
‘And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the US and other European countries.’
Despite not naming either festival, health chiefs tasked with containing the virus have already begun tracing cases back to the Gran Canarian gay pride festival – attended by up to 80,000 people between May 5-15.
Meanwhile, three cases in Belgium have been linked with Darklands – a large-scale fetish festival in Antwerp, held from May 5-8. Organisers have since said there is ‘reason to assume’ someone at the event was infected.