Real-time PCR assays for the specific detection of monkeypox virus West African and Congo Basin strain DNA

J Virol Methods. 2010 Oct;169(1):223-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.07.012. Epub 2010 Jul 17.


Orthopoxvirus monkeypox (MPXV) forms two distinct clades: the MPXV Congo Basin clade viruses are endemic in the Congo Basin, human illness typically presents with symptoms similar to discrete, ordinary smallpox and has a case fatality rate of approximately 10% in unvaccinated populations; the MPXV West African clade viruses have been isolated in West Africa and appear to cause a less severe, and less inter-human transmissible disease. Recently, monkeypox outbreaks were reported in US and Sudan caused by MPXV West African and Congo Basin strains respectively. These events demonstrated the ability and trend of the virus to exploit new hosts and emerge globally; it also emphasizes the need for the diagnosis of MPXV, especially the ability to distinguish between Congo Basin and West African monkeypox strains. In this study, three new real-time PCR assays based on TaqMan probe technology were reported: the MPXV West African specific, Congo Basin strain specific and MPXV generic assays. The new assays demonstrated good specificity and sensitivity in the validation study with multiple platforms and various PCR reagent kits, and will improve the rapid detection and differentiation of monkeypox infections from other rash illness.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Monkey Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Monkey Diseases / virology
  • Monkeypox / diagnosis
  • Monkeypox / veterinary*
  • Monkeypox virus / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Virology / methods*


  • DNA, Viral