Anticipating the transmissibility of the 2022 mpox outbreak

J Med Virol. 2023 Mar;95(3):e28683. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28683.


An ongoing outbreak of monkeypox virus (MPXV) was first reported in the United Kingdom on 6 May 2022. As of 17 November, there had been a total of 80 221 confirmed MPXV cases in over 110 countries. Based on data reported between 6 May and 30 June 2022 in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany, we applied a deep learning approach using convolutional neural networks to evaluate the parameters of the 2022 MPXV outbreak. The basic reproduction number (R0 ) of MPXV was estimated to be 2.32 in the United Kingdom, which indicates the active diffusion of MPXV since the beginning of the outbreak. The data from Spain and Germany produced higher median R0 values of 2.42 and 2.88, respectively. Importantly, the estimated R0 of MPXV in the three countries tends to the previously calculated R0 of smallpox (3.50 to 6.00). Furthermore, the incubation (1/ε) and infectious (1/γ) period was predicted between 9 and 10 days and 4-5 days, respectively. The R0 value derived from MPXV is consistent with the significantly increasing number of cases, indicating the risk of a rapid spread of MPXV worldwide, which would provide important insights for the prevention and control of MPXV epidemic.

Keywords: R0; epidemic; mpox; outbreak; transmissibility.

MeSH terms

  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Epidemics*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Monkeypox* / epidemiology