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Yale epidemiologist soothes monkeypox concerns as WHO reports over 2,000 cases in latest outbreak

With more than 500 known cases, the United Kingdom is home to the largest outbreak of monkeypox

Published: June 19, 2022 9:21pm

Updated: June 19, 2022 11:41pm

Most people are not at risk of developing monkeypox, but for those who are at risk, "masks won't do anything" to prevent it, Yale Epidemiology Professor Harvey Risch told "Just the News, Not Noise."

His guidance comes as the World Health Organization reported Friday that more than 2,100 monkeypox cases have been found in at least 42 different countries.

With more than 500 known cases, the United Kingdom is home to the largest outbreak of monkeypox, although the disease was previously limited to mostly African nations.

"Monkeypox is transmitted with prolonged and intimate contact. It's not a respiratory virus, it takes a lot of exposure to it. And that means that people living their normal lives with with other people who are not infected are essentially not going to get monkeypox," Dr. Risch told editor-in-chief John Solomon and co-host Amanda Head last week. 

WHO officials last month said most cases of monkeypox have been discovered amongst "men who have sex with men," leading researchers to believe it is transmitted through close physical contact. 

The WHO added to its most recent guidance that monkeypox "continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners."

There has been one confirmed monkeypox-related death, and the WHO warns that the risk is higher for those with a "poorly controlled HIV infection."

Dr. Risch advised: "If you're part of a community where the monkeypox is spreading, and and it's spreading because of large degrees of intimate contact... masks won't do anything for that. But other methods to remove the degree of intimate contact are the only way to prevent the spread in that case."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out graphic suggestions earlier this month advising those at a higher risk of monkeypox to "[m]asturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching each other and without touching any rash or sores [and] [c]onsider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash or sores are present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible."

For most of the public, monkeypox is does not pose a threat, as Dr. Risch explained that the average person is not at risk "at all" during normal daily activities.

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