One case of monkeypox in a non-endemic country is considered an outbreak. The sudden appearance of monkeypox simultaneously in several non-endemic countries suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time as well as recent amplifying events.
Multi-country monkeypox outbreak
Since 13 May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO by 23 Member States that are not endemic for monkeypox virus. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however, the vast majority of reported cases so far have no established travel links to an endemic area and have presented through primary care or sexual health services.
As of 26 May 2022, a cumulative total of 257 laboratory confirmed cases and around 120 suspected cases have been reported to WHO. No deaths have been reported. The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries.
Public health outbreak investigations are ongoing in countries that have identified cases, including extensive case finding and contact tracing, laboratory investigation, clinical management and case isolation. However, the overall public health risk at global level is assessed as moderate.
Any rash-like illness during travel or upon return should be immediately reported to a health professional, including information about all recent travel, sexual history and smallpox immunization history. Residents and travellers to monkeypox-endemic countries should avoid contact with sick mammals such as rodents, marsupials, non-human primates (dead or alive) that could harbour monkeypox virus and should refrain from eating or handling wild game.