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Irish monkeypox study finds 98.6% of patients were homosexual, 28.3% had HIV, and one had 75 sex partners in 21 days

A person infected with monkeypox had sex with 75 other individuals in just three weeks in Ireland, a new study has shown.

Research published in the Irish Medical Journal late last month examined confirmed cases of monkeypox, which authorities have tried to rebrand as mpox, during an outbreak in Ireland between May 27 2022 and May 27 2023.

The study found that during the outbreak period there were 229 confirmed monkeypox cases, including 226 males and three females. The median number of sexual partners in the 21 days prior to onset was two, but at least one patient had sex with 75 other people during that period.

The study does not specify the sex or nationality of that individual, but of the 229 patients, three were heterosexual, 206 were homosexual, and 20 were unknown. 46.8% were born in Ireland, 32.3% in Latin America, 13.4% in Europe, and 7.5% elsewhere in the world.

Sexual transmission occurred in 96.5% of cases. 98.2% of cases reported male homosexual sex as their recent contact, while just three cases (1.8%) had heterosexual sex, an four patients did not have sex in the three weeks prior to onset.

28.3% of the patients were HIV positive, and 64% were on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Monkeypox is caused by infection with the mpox virus. Common symptoms include a rash, lesions or sores, fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat.

The disease is mostly spread from person-to-person through prolonged physical or intimate contact.

The term “mpox” was introduced by the World Health Organisation in November 2022 to be used simultaneously with “monkeypox” for one year while the original name for the disease, in use since the 1970s, was phased out.

The WHO cited “racist and stigmatising language” for the move.

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