Since mid-May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from different countries, especially those in Europe and North America. Most of these cases were identified amongst men who have sex with men seeking medical help in primary care and sexual health clinics. On 23 July 2022, WHO declared the multi-country/place monkeypox outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Monkeypox is caused by a virus named monkeypox virus. Symptoms include fever, intense headache, myalgia and lymphadenopathy in the first few days of infection. Lesions in mouth and rash on the body may appear about 1 to 3 days after onset of fever. It is usually self-limiting with symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days. The case fatality in previous monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1-10%.
A person may catch the virus from infected animals (e.g. through bite, scratch and direct contact with body fluid of wild animals), infected humans (e.g. through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact or direct contact with body fluids, such as during sexual contact) or contaminated materials.
Members of the public should take precautions and avoid close physical contact with persons or animals suspected of contracting monkeypox. They should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience symptoms of monkeypox, including fever, severe headache, muscle pain, swollen lymph node, mouth lesion and rash. Following the latest advice from the WHO, persons suspected to have contracted monkeypox should avoid undertaking any travel.
Take precautions when travelling to places affected by monkeypox to reduce risk of infection. Avoid close physical contact with sick persons or animals, wear protective equipment when taking care of sick persons or handling animals and wash hands afterwards, thoroughly cook animal products before eating and seek medical advice promptly for any suspicious symptoms.
For details, please refer to the factsheet of monkeypox.