2023 Volume 5 Issue 1 Pages 13-22
Human monkeypox (hMPX) is a smallpox-like disease caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV) that belongs to the genus of Orthopoxvirus, in the family of Poxviridae. The natural hosts of MPXV are species of rodents, which are found in habitats in Central and Western Africa. Sporadic cases of patients with hMPX have been identified in central Africa since the discovery of the first cases in the early 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Western African countries. Since May 2022 (and up to the end of October 2022), more than 75,000 patients with hMPX have been reported, mainly in European and American countries. In the current outbreak, MPXV is transmitted from human to human, through close sexual contact, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). Safe and effective third-generation smallpox vaccines, namely, LC16m8 and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), are effective in protecting vaccinees from hMPX. It is highly possible that immediate vaccination of close contacts with MVA or LC16m8, before disease onset, may be effective in reducing the severity of hMPX if infected. A proper vaccination program would reduce the scale of the current hMPX outbreak. Furthermore, hMPX in endemic areas should be prevented through mass vaccination programs with third-generation vaccines for those living in these regions. Notably, the current hMPX outbreak is mainly associated with community-specific MSM circumstances. Special consideration should be given to patients with hMPX, who must be protected from societal discrimination.