- A man was diagnosed with monkey pox after attending an outdoor event, according to a report.
- Most people in the current outbreak have contracted monkeypox through sexual activity with an infected person.
- The case is unusual and should not be a cause for concern, the report’s lead author said.
A man who hadn’t had sex for months was diagnosed with monkey pox after attending a crowded outdoor event, in what one researcher described as a “rare” case.
The unnamed man in his 20s from the US got a rash two weeks after attending a big, crowded outdoor event in the UK, according to an investigative letter published Monday in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The rash appeared on his left palm, knuckles on both hands, lip and torso.
His rash was smeared and diagnosed as monkey pox. The man had no other typical monkey pox symptoms, the report said. Typical symptoms may include fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue, as well as lesions on the genitals and anus.
Most cases of monkeypox in the current outbreak are caused by sexual contact
The man’s case is unusual because the vast majority of the 39,434 cases of monkeypox reported since May outside areas where the disease is endemic have occurred in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, who have intimate sexual contact. had, the report’s authors said.
The man identified as bisexual but told doctors in the ER when he returned to the US that he had not had any sexual encounters during his travels or in the previous three months, according to the report.
Anyone can get monkeypox, including by: rubbing a monkeypox rash with bare skin, touching contaminated objects and ingesting respiratory secretions, such as saliva, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts told Insider that during the current outbreak, the virus mainly spreads through close contact — particularly sexual activity, although it is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease.
The longer the time spent with an infected person, the greater the risk of transmission, Dr. Jake Dunning, a senior researcher at the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford, UK, told Insider in an interview before the report was published.
Abraar Karan, an infectious disease researcher at Stanford University and lead author of the report, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the case “should not be a cause for concern in the sense that this remains a very rare occurrence.”
“The vast majority of transmission still occurs through high-risk sexual networks and high-risk sexual exposure,” he said.
The risk of contracting monkey pox at events is low
In this case, the man attended an event not primarily attended by men who have sex with men, where he danced for a few hours close to others wearing “sleeveless tops and shorts.” He was wearing pants and a short-sleeved top, the report said. He attended other similar outdoor events over a four-day period.
“Rubbing against someone partially clothed in a mosh pit for several hours may increase the risk, but the risk of an average concertgoer getting monkey pox is quite low right now,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told Insider.
The man had also taken two flights and traveled on crowded public trains, according to the report.
Chin-Hong said surfaces were “not a great way” to catch monkeypox and that airway spread was “very unlikely with a short transit trip, even if monkeypox is more common in the general population.”
Keith Neal, professor emeritus of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, UK, said planes were “even safer” than the subway or buses because of air filter systems.
The man’s symptoms resolved 26 days after they started without any treatment, the report said.