Today the World Health Organization reported 80 confirmed cases of monkeypox with another possible 50 being investigated worldwide. In the US, there is a case in Massachusetts, another possible case in New York, and the CDC advised healthcare professionals in the US to be on the lookout for more cases.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. The first human case occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus is in the same family of viruses as smallpox. The two primary strains main of monkeypox are west African and central African. It is not clear which strain is currently spreading around the world.

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. One difference between the two diseases is that monkeypox causes lymphadenopathy while smallpox does not. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days. The symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox is believed to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesions, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or bedding.

There is a vaccine for monkeypox, JYNNEOSTM (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex). This is an attenuated live virus vaccine that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019 for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. Immunity requires 2 doses given 4 weeks apart.

Information on the vaccine for Monkeypox may be found here.

The prescribing information may be found here.

The CDC  Health Advisory (May 20) may be found here.

A free WHO online course for public health officers and health care workers on monkeypox transmission, clinical presentation, diagnostics, and treatment may be found here.