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Dating apps such as Tinder are increasing people's risk of catching a cancer-causing virus passed on through oral sex, dentists warn.
Experts say almost half of adults will be infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV) at some point in their life.
None of the patients knew each other, although the theoretical possibility that some may have had sexual contact with a person with Kaposi's Sarcoma at some point in the past could not be excluded, Dr. ''The best evidence against contagion,'' he said, ''is that no cases have been reported to date outside the homosexual community or in women.'' Dr.
Friedman-Kien said he had tested nine of the victims and found severe defects in their immunological systems.
Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, 72, blamed oral sex for giving him throat cancer in 2010.
The research team is testing various hypotheses, one of which is a possible link between past infection with cytomegalovirus and development of Kaposi's Sarcoma.
In a letter alerting other physicians to the problem, Dr. Friedman-Kien of New York University Medical Center, one of the investigators, described the appearance of the outbreak as ''rather devastating.'' Dr.
Friedman-Kien said in an interview yesterday that he knew of 41 cases collated in the last five weeks, with the cases themselves dating to the past 30 months.
However, the disease accounts for up to 9 percent of all cancers in a belt across equatorial Africa, where it commonly affects children and young adults.
In the United States, it has primarily affected men older than 50 years.
'While there are some additional population level health benefits to both males and females by extending the programme to boys, impact and cost-effectiveness modelling indicates that adding boys is highly unlikely to be cost-effective in the UK.' But experts have pointed out a weakness in the JCVI's herd protection argument.