The World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern. Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis caused by a double-stranded DNA virus in the Orthopoxvirus genus, transmitted to humans from animals — with symptoms similar to smallpox although clinically less severe. Details about the disease are available on WHO’s website at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox (1)
Since early May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported in countries where the disease is not endemic. and continue to be reported in several endemic countries. Most confirmed cases with travel history reported travel to countries in Europe and North America, rather than West or Central Africa, where the monkeypox virus is endemic. This is the first time that many monkeypox cases and clusters have been reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries in widely disparate geographical areas.(2) As of the 8th August, 30189 cases have been reported from 88 countries, out of which 29844 cases are from countries that have not historically reported monkeypox.(3)
Most reported cases so far have been identified through sexual health or other health services in primary and secondary health-care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men.
Human infection with monkeypox virus was initially identified in 1970, with almost all subsequent cases confined to rainforest regions of central and west Africa. In Africa, human case fatality rates from monkeypox infection are approximately 10%, and nearly half of infected individuals develop severe complications. In recent times case fatality rate is around 3 to 6%.(1)
References and further reading
- https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox ⧉
- https://www.who.int/emergencies/situations/monkeypox-oubreak-2022 ⧉
- https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/world-map.html ⧉