The presumed receptivity and susceptibility to monkeypox of European animal species

Infect Dis Now. 2022 Aug;52(5):294-298. doi: 10.1016/j.idnow.2022.06.006. Epub 2022 Jun 23.


The Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvius genus, as does the specifically human smallpox virus. It is zoonotic and had never previously been considered as capable of human-to-human transmission over more than nine viral generation cycles. While relevant animal reservoirs have yet to be identified, non-human primates (NHP) are only accidental hosts. The potentially high number of current human shedders during the clinical phase (3 weeks maximum) raises the question of a risk in our countries of animals being contaminated by infected humans (reverse zoonosis). Cats as well as cows are susceptible to the Cowpox virus, another zoonotic Orthopoxvirus, which they transmit to humans. Dogs are much less susceptible to this virus and seem only receptive to Vaccinia virus (also belonging to the Orthopoxvirus genus). On the other hand, one study has demonstrated the pronounced susceptibility of the adult albino rabbit and of young animals of several rodent species to Monkeypox virus (MPXV). Given the susceptibility to MPXV of prairie dogs, which are American Sciuridae, the potential for infection of European squirrels cannot be ruled out.

Keywords: Animal reservoir; Monkeypox; Reverse zoonosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Monkeypox* / epidemiology
  • Monkeypox* / veterinary
  • Rabbits
  • Sciuridae
  • United States