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Gay Festivals Linked to Monkeypox Outbreak by Sven R. Larson

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Gay Festivals Linked to Monkeypox Outbreak

As the monkeypox outbreak spreads across Europe, two events have been linked to its proliferation. Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, told the Associated Press that the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two festivals held in Spain and Belgium. 

According to the Daily Mail, the Maspalomas Pride event on Gran Canaria

attended by 80,000 from Britain and across Europe is being investigated after being linked to numerous monkeypox cases in Madrid, Italy and Tenerife. Held between May 5 and May 15, Maspalomas Pride attracts visitors from across the continent. 

Further, the Daily Mail also reports that Spanish authorities have linked confirmed monkeypox cases to a ‘sauna,’ “which in Spain is used to describe establishments popular with gay men looking for sex rather than just a bathhouse.”

According to Newsweek, Belgian authorities are also investigating a ‘fetish’ festival-related outbreak of monkeypox:

Organizers of a fetish festival in Belgium are warning attendees of possible exposure to monkeypox after public health officials linked three cases to the event that recently concluded in Antwerp. The Darklands Festival posted the notice on its website on Friday, the same day Belgian public health officials confirmed cases of the rare viral disease.

Newsweek also cited the Belgian health minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, reporting that the cases identified so far were “mostly among men who have sexual contact with other men.”

The Associated Press reports:

Germany has four confirmed cases linked to exposure at “party events … where sexual activity took place” in Spain’s Canary Islands and in Berlin, according to a government report to lawmakers.

On May 23rd, Danish Kristelig Folkeblad reported:

Monday afternoon the first Danish case of the viral disease monkeypox was confirmed. The man who tested positive had been to Gran Canaria and started showing symptoms after his trip. According to [news agency] Ritzau, he is now isolated in his home. 

Authorities in Britain, Spain, and Portugal have said most of the monkeypox cases “identified so far were in young men whose infections were picked up when they sought help for lesions at sexual health clinics,” the AP reports.

According to Kristelig Folkeblad, symptoms of the disease appear about ten days after transmission and are usually over within 2-4 weeks.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.