Monkeys are spreading in New York and rushing to education

The Grindr social networking app has sent pop-up messages about the threat of monkey disease to millions of European and American users. The organizer of the sex party in New York asked the guests to check themselves before coming. Organizers of the city’s main pride festival posted a message about the monkey disease on Instagram on Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in New York and elsewhere this month to celebrate the Pride, and city and federal officials, health advocates and party organizers are rushing to issue health warnings about the growing threat of monkey disease.

“Know, but don’t panic,” said Jason Cianciotto, vice president of communications and policy for the gay health crisis, summing up the group’s statement.

In some parts of Africa, the long-running endemic virus is now spreading around the world and can spread to anyone, but it is spreading primarily through networks of men who have sex with men, officials say.

Since the first outbreak in Europe on May 13, the virus has been detected in more than 2,000 people in 35 countries outside Africa. As of Wednesday, there were 16 cases in New York, including 84 nationwide. The latest cases in New York are not related to travel, suggesting human-to-human transmission in New York, the city’s health department said.

Although raw numbers are still low, epidemiologists are concerned about the growing level of global infection and the lack of a clear link between the cases, suggesting a spread. The World Health Organization will meet next week to determine if smallpox is a global health emergency.

Smallpox was first discovered by captive monkeys in 1958 by European researchers, and can infect anyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation. Although it is most commonly spread through direct contact with wounds, it can be spread through common objects such as towels, as well as droplets from speech, coughing, or sneezing.

Scientists believe that it can also be transmitted through small aerosol particles, but this probably requires close contact for a long time. In general, the virus is less contagious than Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said at least 72 people have died this year in African countries where the smallpox virus is endemic. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyus said Tuesday that other deaths have not been confirmed by a global epidemic outside of Africa.

All of the first 10 cases in New York were identified in men between the ages of 27 and 50, and according to the city’s Department of Health, most of them were men who had sex with men. Most cases in New York are accompanied by mild symptoms, but in mild cases there may be two to two itchy and painful rashes.

Public awareness of the epidemic, which will lead to increased demand for tests, has not yet begun, and the virus sometimes causes only a few sores on the genitals, making it difficult to distinguish it from other sexually transmitted diseases. There are two vaccines as well as antiviral drugs, but now vaccines are recommended primarily to cover contact with cases identified or suspected in America.

Pride holidays are a great time to raise awareness among the most dangerous people in the LGBT community, health officials said in interviews, but at the same time it is difficult for those who want to receive public protection messages without creating fear or stigma. Broadly speaking, organizers and health workers do not want to interfere with Pride celebrations and their positive statements about sexual identity.

Working with advocates and partners of the LGBTQ community, federal and local health officials have in recent weeks started creating social media posts, writing fact sheets, and posting pictures of smallpox to help people know what to look for.

Pride meetings also have a crucial time, when aggressive public health efforts have the potential to control monkeys, but increased communication during the holidays can lead to the spread of additional diseases, especially if people are unaware of the virus.

“Everyone needs to step up their game, because if we want to hold it, we really need to step up our efforts everywhere,” he said.,Said Gregg Gonsalves, a long-time AIDS activist and epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health. “We’re on the line between arrest and sustainable spread, and arrest would be better.”

So far, the focus of health workers has been to provide information on how the disease is transmitted – primarily through skin-to-skin contact – and to encourage people to take care if they develop rashes or feel unwell. Although the reports are aimed specifically at the gay and bisexual communities, health officials point out that anyone can be infected.

The current threat to the general public remains low, and could increase if the virus appears in the United States and other countries outside Africa and infects a wider range of people, the WHO warned in a recent update. The organization is also working to rename the virus, acknowledging that it could exacerbate the stigma surrounding it.

However, many health experts warn that public health messages, now mostly online, need to go faster and that education alone is not enough to stop the epidemic.

All aspects of the reaction to smallpox – from education to disease detection to isolation of infected people – need to be accelerated, the doctor said. Carlos Del Rio is chairman of the Global Health Department at Emery University’s Rollins School of Public Health and future president of the American Society for Infectious Diseases.

“In order to cover this, we need to take immediate action,” he said. “I want to do more.”

Virus testing is still rare in the United States. As of June 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted 297 tests for the orthopoxvirus of the monkey virus family.

Public health experts warn that the CDC’s centralized approach could erode the country’s widespread testing in February 2020, echoing tests that slowed the country’s response to Covid-19.

Testing is currently in two stages: About 70 public health laboratories across the country are licensed to perform orthopoxir PCR tests, but the final diagnosis of smallpox is made only by the CDC laboratory in Atlanta. Commercial laboratories are still unable to test for the virus. There is no rapid or antigen testing for smallpox in monkeys, but it can be developed like Covid, the doctor said. Jay Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Control.

“Without revealing this, we are once again facing an unprepared global pandemic,” said Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group and a longtime AIDS activist, who called for improved testing. monkey chicken webinar Received by the Manhattan District President on Monday.

Some aspects of the federal response have been praised by the LGBT community. For example, the CDC recently released a sex-positive fact sheet on social gatherings and safe sex, which, instead of telling everyone to stay home, contains specific tips on how to avoid monkey disease, such as wearing clothes and not kissing during sex.

“Some people are worried that this is happening during Pride,” the doctor said. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC’s HIV / AIDS unit and head of the agency’s monkeys unit. “I can’t Imagine a better time to receive messages about things like this.

This month’s parades and open-air events are “not a place for the virus to spread,” he said. Cianciotto of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, so people shouldn’t be afraid to participate in them. “As for clubs that are hosting parties that are more physically connected, or for people who are intimate with others, they need to know what to look for and how to get help.”

However, as the relevance of education has increased, there has been less expansion of other aspects of the response, such as increasing access to testing and vaccination for those who consider themselves at risk, said Joseph Osmundson, a microbiologist. As a group of gay and queer activists at New York University, we are constantly talking about responses with decision makers.

She and other activists work through their channels to educate the LGBTQ community about the virus, such as sex party promoters by creating messages that contain images of monkey smallpox in participants.

“When I talk to my friends in the queer community, we want to intervene,” the doctor said. Osmundson said. “We don’t want monkey disease. The spaces we meet to enjoy and partner with, we don’t want them closed, first. And we like to enter those spaces with less worry and as little risk as possible.

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