The researchers found monkey virus DNA in the semen of several patients

The WHO will assess whether the virus has been declared a public health emergency due to the disease in 39 countries.

It is not yet known for sure whether smallpox can be sexually transmitted, as there is still no scientific evidence of this significance. Photo: Shutterstock.

Discovery raises doubts about the transmission of the virus and whether it can be sexually transmitted, many of the cases of monkeypox confirmed in the current epidemic are between sexual partners who have had such close contact; thus, it is understood that the monkeypox virus is spread through close contact with an infected person, as it is transmitted through characteristic skin lesions or large respiratory droplets.

However, well-known sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV / AIDS, chlamydia and syphilis caused by pathogens are transmitted from one person to another, in particular through semen, vaginal secretions or other body fluids.

Thus, researchers from the Lazaro Spalanzani Institute, a hospital and research center of disease infectious diseases based in Romethe first identified evidence for monkeypox virus in the semen of four patients in Italy in a report published in Eurosurveillance.

Since then, six of the seven patients at the facility have been identified and their semen contains genetic material from the virus. In particular, a sample analyzed in laboratory for one patient suggested that the virus found in his semen was capable of infecting another person and replicating once in the body.

Even though he is a revelation that gives light In an investigation, these data are not sufficient evidence to show that the biological characteristics of the virus have changed so that its mode of transmission has evolved,

Reuters Francesco Vaya, director general of the institute, said that “after all … the presence of an infectious virus in semen is a factor that strongly upsets the balance in favor of the hypothesis that sexual transmission is one of the ways this virus is transmitted .

Vaia said the World Health Organization had been informed of the latest findings. Data appear when there are more than 1300 cases of viral disease they have been reported by about 30 countries, mainly in Europe, since early May. Most cases have been reported in men who have sex with men.

The outbreak is a cause for concern, as the virus has rarely left Africa, where it is endemic and most cases are unrelated to travel to the mainland, and scientists are currently struggling to figure out what caused the outbreak. change in the virus and its conditions.

In another report published in Research Square, German scientists also found viral DNA from this virus in two patients from their country, but this report has not yet been reviewed by partners.

The discovery of viral DNA does not necessarily mean the presence of an infectious virus, said Carlos Malucker de Motes, who leads a research group studying the biology of poxvirus at the University of Surrey.

Viral DNA from various viruses, including Zika virus, has been found in semen, but it is not yet clear whether the presence of genetic material increases the risk of sexual transmission.

In general, it is not yet known for sure whether monkeypox is transmitted through semen, added Enrico Buchi, a biologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, who said: “It is suspected and very likely, but there is no official evidence available. more lab experiments. “

Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) will assess whether smallpox should be declared a public health emergency of international importance and will convene an emergency meeting of the commission to assess whether the smallpox outbreak should be declared an emergency. for public health of international importance.

“I think it’s clear now that there is an unusual situation, which means that even the virus is behaving in an unusual way from the way it has behaved in the past, but not only that, it is affecting more and more countries, and we think that it also needs a coordinated response due to its geographical distribution, “said WHO Director-General Tedros Adanom Gebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva.

To date, the virus has generated more than 1,600 confirmed cases and approximately 1,500 suspicious cases reported in 39 countries, “seven of which are places where monkeypox has been found for years. The other 32 are recently affected countries, “Tedros told a news conference in Geneva.

Sources consulted here.