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Dr. David Heymann, former head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergencies department and now a leading advisor, suggested that sexual transmission at two raves in Spain and Belgium may have spurred the recent outbreak of Monkeypox. However, names and details of the events were not shared.

“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,” Heymann told The Associated Press.

Symptoms of Monkeypox—similar to past cases of smallpox though clinically less severe—include fevers, chills, muscle pains, headaches, and lesions on the face or genitals. The recovery period is usually a few weeks and does not require hospitalization.

In the past, Monkeypox has typically spread through infection by wild rodents and primates within Africa. The recent outbreak marks the first time the disease is spreading among multiple countries with the WHO having recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries including Spain, Canada, Australia, France, and the U.S.

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Heymann added that the outbreak is probably a random event, potentially traceable to a single infection. Calming worries of a pandemic, “this is not COVID,” he added. “We need to slow it down, but it does not spread in the air and we have vaccines to protect against it.”

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