The nature of the monkeypox outbreak might be muddled by gender self-identification, according to experts, as it emerged that the one percent of infected female individuals in the UK could in fact be biologically male.
An Infectious Disease Behaviorist told The Epoch Times that while it's true for accuracy that data on both sex and gender is important, focusing on how someone identifies in society is pandering to politics and risks "weakening public health surveillance systems."
Self-Identified Gender in Health RecordsFor confirmed cases in the UK, where gender information was available, 758 (99 percent) confirmed cases were male, with 5 confirmed female cases. The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 37 years (interquartile range 31–43).
A spokesperson for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told The Epoch Times by email that patients are asked how they would describe their gender, so "the data shows gender identity rather than just gender at birth."
'Need Consistent and Accurate Data on Sex'Data and health experts told The Epoch Times that they expressed concern about the way that the data was collected.
Alice Sullivan is a professor of Sociology and Head of Research at University College London's Social Research Institute who recently gave testimony on the importance of separating gender and sex in Scotland.
The Scottish Parliament is currently considering draft legislation, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will allow individuals to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate by simply making a statutory declaration.
'Weakening Public Health Surveillance'U.S.-based Infectious Disease Behaviorist Sean G. Kaufman told The Epoch Times that the stigma was real when it came to HIV in the 80s, noting the parallels with Monkeypox.
However, Kaufman said that when it comes to gender self-identification, important details from disease investigation could be overlooked: "we're pandering to, in my opinion, a sense of political correctness."
"If you start allowing people to identify as something that they're not biologically, when you look at surveillance of chronic disease, or even acute infectious disease, what it causes is confusion," he said.
But he said that the reality is that when you're trying to solve a problem, the more data you have is key, and having data on both sex and gender is important, as is looking at social-economic trends and health literacy when identifying chronic disease outbreaks.
But Kaufman added that if you cannot include biological sex and you have to include how someone chooses to identify "what you're doing is you're pandering to politics."
"You are weakening your public health surveillance systems because you cannot get the scientific information you need to be able to track and prepare and prevent disease transmission or even chronic disease development," he added.