Stanford’s monkeypox is not sexually transmitted, raising questions about transmission

The monkeypox outbreak in the Gulf adds to evidence that humans can contract the virus in a variety of ways and raises questions about how easy it is to become infected through casual contact with others.

A case study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control found that a 20-year-old man who presented to Stanford Hospital tested positive for syphilis despite no recent sexual activity. Epidemiologists have long believed that the virus is transmitted primarily through close skin-to-skin contact.

The case also highlights the trajectory of the virus and whether it can jump from the LGBTQ community, which is disproportionately affected by the virus, through public spaces to the broader population. While this isn’t the first reported case involving sex — two babies in the state have tested positive — the CDC report suggests a deeper look at what the Stanford man may have done in the past. he had monkey disease.

“There is a concern from the beginning: do we know other ways of transmission other than intimate contact?” asked UC Berkeley epidemiologist John Swartzberg. “This case confirms that this virus can be transmitted in other ways.”

According to the CDC report, the man developed monkeypox lesions on his body two weeks after attending four large public gatherings in the United Kingdom. The man told investigators that the events included dancing, that many people wore tank tops and shorts, and that the gathering was not just for the LGBTQ community.

No one was injured in the event, the man said, and no one was sick. The man also traveled on crowded trains and took two flights back to the United States. The man developed lesions on his arms, lips, chest and back, but none were reported on or near his penis. Symptoms disappear almost a month after the lesions first appear.

The report says fomites – inanimate objects that can spread the virus, such as bed sheets or doorknobs – may be a vector for the spread of monkeypox, but further research is needed.

For his part, Swartzberg said there isn’t enough information to know for sure whether the virus was transmitted through fomites or through other routes, such as respiratory droplets. the earth. Scientists are also investigating the transmission of monkeypox seeds.

While this is currently an anomaly in terms of performance, Swartzberg said it shouldn’t raise big alarm bells for the general public.

“I don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store and someone next to me getting monkeypox,” he said. “This is one story, I don’t think it’s going to change our daily lives.”

Art Rheingold, another epidemiologist at UC Berkeley, said he was not surprised by the report.

“I think it’s predictable that we’re going to see cases like this,” he said. “We knew there were cases of non-sexual transmission.”

In a statement, the Santa Clara County Health Department said it would not comment on specific patients, but said: “It is possible, but rare, to contract monkeypox through the respiratory tract and through contact with common surfaces such as clothing, towels or bed linens. .”

The Stanford story continues to rise as events in the Bay Area continue to rise. The Bay Area currently has 921 cases, with San Francisco at 600. Santa Clara County has 106 cases, Alameda has 132, San Mateo has 31, Contra Costa has 41 and Marin has 11.

Santa Clara County announced Wednesday that since last week it has been complying with new federal guidelines that help expand limited supplies of the monkeypox vaccine, known as JYNNEOS. Until now, health officials used shots for everyone; the latest offering now allows five people to share one dose.


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