Monkeypox: epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention

Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2022 Nov 2;7(1):373. doi: 10.1038/s41392-022-01215-4.


Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that was once endemic in west and central Africa caused by monkeypox virus. However, cases recently have been confirmed in many nonendemic countries outside of Africa. WHO declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on July 23, 2022, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapidly increasing number of confirmed cases could pose a threat to the international community. Here, we review the epidemiology of monkeypox, monkeypox virus reservoirs, novel transmission patterns, mutations and mechanisms of viral infection, clinical characteristics, laboratory diagnosis and treatment measures. In addition, strategies for the prevention, such as vaccination of smallpox vaccine, is also included. Current epidemiological data indicate that high frequency of human-to-human transmission could lead to further outbreaks, especially among men who have sex with men. The development of antiviral drugs and vaccines against monkeypox virus is urgently needed, despite some therapeutic effects of currently used drugs in the clinic. We provide useful information to improve the understanding of monkeypox virus and give guidance for the government and relative agency to prevent and control the further spread of monkeypox virus.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Mpox (monkeypox)* / epidemiology
  • Mpox (monkeypox)* / prevention & control
  • Pandemics
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*