Organizers of a gay fetish festival in Belgium are warning its guest of possible exposure to monkeypox after health officials confirmed three cases of monkeypox have been linked to the four-day party that began on May 5.
Several European countries have reported cases in the last week, and the World Health Organization is looking into whether some of the outbreaks spread within the gay community.
The Darklands festival’s organizers said on their website that the Belgian government had asked them to inform attendees that the outbreak was likely caused by a festival-goer bringing the sickness from abroad.
“There’s reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries,” the festival organizers said.
Darklands is a self-described ticketed event where the “various tribes in the gay fetish community (leather, rubber, army, skinhead, puppies…) come together to create a unique spectacle of fetish brotherhood,” according to their website.
Monkeypox is not typically fatal but can cause serious symptoms including aches, fever and exhaustion. It often causes a rash which can begin on the face and spread to the genitals.
The disease is not easily among humans, but can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person or linens they have touched.