Europe is currently facing a surge in Monkeypox infections, prompting worries about the virus’s spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released its 29th Situation Report on the outbreak, revealing that Monkeypox has now affected 115 countries since May 2022. As of October 20, 2023, there have been a total of 91,123 confirmed cases and 157 reported deaths. Monkeypox cases are being reported in various regions, with a significant increase observed in the European Region. Portugal, in particular, has experienced an alarming 86-fold increase in cases, necessitating immediate attention.
The countries most affected by Monkeypox include the United States, Brazil, Spain, and France. These figures emphasize the global nature of the outbreak and underscore the importance of international collaboration in combating the virus. The WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in July 2022, which remained in effect for almost a year. However, the threat is far from over. The WHO currently assesses the overall global risk for men who have sex with men and sex workers as moderate, indicating ongoing concerns about the transmission of the virus through high-risk behavior.
One troubling aspect of the Monkeypox resurgence is the link between rising infections and risky sexual behavior, particularly among gay men. Reports indicate that many gay establishments across Europe are organizing group sex orgies and related activities without prioritizing safe sex practices. Furthermore, a dispatch from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that a significant number of Monkeypox cases were found in individuals with a history of sexual activity preceding their illness. Close face-to-face contact, attending large social gatherings, and working in occupational settings also contribute to the virus’s spread.
Sexually transmitted coinfections are prevalent among Monkeypox patients, further complicating the situation. Common coinfections among those affected by Monkeypox include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV. This not only adds to the burden on healthcare systems but also suggests that individuals with Monkeypox engage in risky sexual behavior.
Recent studies have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the leading Monkeypox vaccine and antiviral treatment among immunocompromised individuals and those with HIV. This poses challenges in protecting vulnerable groups and necessitates the development of alternative strategies.
In conclusion, the resurgence of Monkeypox in Europe is a grave concern. While healthcare organizations and professionals continue to work tirelessly to combat the outbreak, individuals must also prioritize safe sexual practices, regular testing, and vaccination. Global collaboration and public awareness are crucial in curbing the spread of the virus and preventing further loss of life.