How likely are you to contract monkeypox in public? We asked seven experts to rank various activities, including dance parties and gym workouts.

Seven specialists determined the likelihood of contracting monkeypox in various locations, including the gym and concerts. The likelihood of contracting monkeypox while out and about is often very low. The riskiest behavior, according to the doctors, is coming into close, unprotected touch with an infected person who has a rash. Morning Brew is read by more than 3 million people; you should too! Researchers are rushing to determine the virus’s specific mode of transmission and whether it differs from what we previously believed as monkeypox continues to spread at an unprecedented rate in the US.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men who have had close sexual or personal contact have been the majority of cases (94%) in the outbreak that began in May.

Monkeypox in multiple ways is contagious. The likelihood of catching the virus outside of a sexual relationship is “very low,” particularly in places where there haven’t been major outbreaks. However, case reports detailing additional potential channels of transmission have led some to doubt the degree of risk.

In order to determine the likelihood of contracting monkeypox in various locations, including the gym, a restaurant, and a concert, Insider consulted experts.

The best approach to think about risk is “WHO you are spending time with PLUS WHAT you are doing with that person, rather than WHERE you are,” infectious disease expert Dr. Jay Varma of Weill Cornell Medicine told Insider via email.

Other factors exist, according to Dr. Jake Dunning, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Pandemic Sciences Institute. For instance, riskier public places could be those that are dirtier. People who already have illnesses like HIV may be more susceptible to infection.

Based on the most recent research, here is what Varma, Dunning, and five other specialists had to say regarding your chance of contracting monkeypox in certain situations.

RISK OF HAVING DINNER OUT: Very low
Despite the fact that respiratory droplets can spread monkeypox, it would be extremely unlikely to contract the disease in a restaurant, according to the specialists.

Infectious diseases assistant professor Dr. Scott Roberts at Yale School of Medicine stated, “The CDC believes droplet transfer is conceivable if you are within six feet of someone, but the duration is more than three hours and most meals won’t stay that long.

You don’t need to worry about catching it from a waiter or others who aren’t wearing masks, according to Bernard Camins, medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System. The danger is minimal unless you share a drink or utensils with someone who has monkeypox.

RISK OF USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Minimal
According to the specialists, it’s improbable that you’ll contract monkeypox while using public transportation or by touching surfaces.

According to University of California, San Francisco professor of medicine and infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, contracting the virus through the air was “extremely unlikely with a short transit travel.” If you momentarily sat next to someone wearing skimpy clothing and having a monkeypox outbreak, the risk would still be low.

According to Keith Neal, emeritus professor of epidemiology of infectious illnesses at the University of Nottingham in the UK, air filtering makes airplanes “even safer” than the subway or buses.

RISK OF ATTENDING A GYM: Minimal
According to the experts, gyms are often minimal risk.

The risk of contracting monkeypox at the gym is decreased, according to Sarah Bauerle Bass, director of the Temple University Risk Communication Laboratory, by washing hands, disinfecting shared equipment, donning long sleeves, and using clean towels.

Neal suggested that if you were to have skin-to-skin contact, single-sex saunas frequented by males who have sex with men might be “an area of worry.”

Attending a concert or rave poses a low to medium risk.

Having extended skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual increases your risk of contracting monkeypox at a dance or concert, according to Saskia Popescu, an assistant professor in the biodefense program at George Mason University.

Long sleeves, abstaining from intoxicating substances like alcohol and drugs, and avoiding casual sex can all assist to keep you safe.

It’s improbable that the typical concertgoer would have monkeypox at this time, but rubbing up against a partially dressed person with the virus for several hours in a mosh pit could raise the danger of contracting the illness, according to Chin-Hong.

RISK OF SEX: HIGH FOR MSM

According to Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago who specializes in LGBTQ health and infectious illnesses, sexual and personal contact carries a high risk, particularly for men who have intercourse with other men. In light of the recent outbreak of monkeypox, the president of the World Health Organization recently advised males who have sex with men to restrict their sexual partners.

Although the monkeypox virus has been found in semen, feces, urine, blood, and saliva, their level of contagiousness is unknown. Condoms may aid in preventing semenal transfer, but the experts warned that if bed linens are polluted or there are skin lesions on other body areas, the virus will still spread.

This disease can practically be eradicated quickly with immunization and a modest degree of behavior modification, like temporarily lowering the number of partners, according to Neal.

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