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UN Condemns Monkey Smallpox Report, Warns Of Stigma -By ASC

Symptoms of smallpox include fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes among others. (File)

Geneva:

The United Nations AIDS Agency on Sunday called some reports of the smallpox monkey virus as racist and homophobic, warning it would exacerbate stigma and affect the response to the growing epidemic.

UNAIDS says “the vast majority” of recent cases of monkey smallpox have been identified among gays, bisexuals and other men who have sex with men.

But the transmission is most likely through close physical contact with smallpox sufferers and can affect anyone, he added, saying some portrayals of Africans and LGBTI “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes as well as exacerbate stigma”.

As of May 21, the World Health Organization received reports of 92 laboratory -confirmed cases of smallpox and 28 suspected cases from 12 countries where the disease is not endemic, including several European countries, the United States, Australia and Canada.

“Stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during an outbreak like this,” said UNAIDS deputy executive director Matthew Kavanagh.

“Experience shows that stigmatization rhetoric can cripple evidence -based responses quickly by triggering a cycle of fear, expelling people from health services, hindering efforts to identify cases, and encouraging ineffective punitive measures.”

Symptoms of chickenpox include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue and a chickenpox -like rash on the hands and face.

No treatment exists, but symptoms usually disappear after two to four weeks. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African countries.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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