WHO Investigates Reports of Monkeypox Virus Transmission in Semen

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday it is investigating reports of monkeypox virus found in patients’ semen.

Catherine Smallworld, monkeypox incident manager at WHO Europe, said that the organization had not changed its current assessment that the virus transmission occurs through close physical contact.

“We’re still trying to understand how this particular outbreak is different — how the pattern of transmission is different,” Smallworld said.

On June 2, researchers at the Spallanzani Institute, a research facility in Rome, reported they found monkeypox viral DNA in semen samples of four men from Italy. The patients reportedly engaged in “condomless sexual intercourse.”

The researchers recommended further investigations on the possible sexual transmission of the monkeypox virus.

Smallworld said patients who have recovered from symptoms of the virus must still practice safe sex for up to 12 weeks “as a precautionary measure,” while WHO further studies the cases of monkeypox virus found in semen.

Steve Taylor, director of the European Pride Organizers Association, said that monkeypox is not only restricted to men who have sex with men despite it being the current situation.

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