(CNN) — In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The virus originated in Africa and is a cousin of the smallpox virus. We tell you what there is to know about monkeypox so far.
The following data on monkeypox were obtained from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Monkeypox is a poxvirus. It usually causes pimple-like or blister-like lesions and flu-like symptoms, such as fever. The disease is rarely fatal.
Monkeypox is transmitted by direct contact. This includes direct physical contact with the lesions, as well as “respiratory secretions” shared through face-to-face interaction and contact with objects that have been contaminated by the monkeypox lesions or fluids. The virus can also pass to the fetus through the placenta.
Anyone can get monkeypox, but the CDC says that more than 99% of monkeypox cases in the United States in the 2022 outbreak have occurred among men who have sex with men. However, monkeypox is not generally considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Monkeypox is most commonly found in West and Central Africa, but additional cases have been reported in Europe, including the UK, and other parts of the world in recent years. These cases are often related to international travel or imported animals infected with the poxvirus.
The WHO has named two other variants of the virus and is working with the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) to rename the virus of monkeypox using a non-stigmatizing and non-offensive social and cultural nomenclature.
2022 timeline and outbreak
- 1958: discovered monkeypox when monkeys kept for research cause two outbreaks in Copenhagen, Denmark.
- 1970: First human case of monkeypox reported in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
- 2003: An outbreak of monkeypox occurs in the United States, related to infected prairie dogs imported from Ghana, causing more than 80 cases.
- July 16, 2021: CDC and local health authorities in Dallas announce that they are investigating a case of monkeypox in a traveler from Nigeria. “The individual is a resident of the city of Dallas who traveled from Nigeria to Dallas, arriving at Love Field Airport, on July 9, 2021. The individual is hospitalized in Dallas and is in stable condition,” the report said at the time. Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement.
- May 17, 2022: notify the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States in the 2022 outbreak to the CDC in a traveler who returned to Massachusetts from Canada.
- May 19, 2022: the WHO reports that mortality rates in the monkeypox outbreak have been between 3% and 6%.
- May 23, 2022: The CDC announces the release of doses of monkeypox vaccine from the country’s Strategic National Stockpile for “high-risk individuals.” In the United States, the two-dose Jynneos vaccine is licensed to prevent smallpox and specifically to prevent monkeypox.
- May 26, 2022: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announces distribution of monkeypox vaccine to US states with reported cases and recommends vaccination for people at increased risk of infection due to direct contact with someone who has monkeypox.
- June 2022: The first possible case of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox is reported in two men and their pet in Paris, says Dr Rosamund Lewis, technical lead for monkeypox response for WHO. The men were diagnosed with monkeypox at a Paris hospital. Twelve days after the symptoms began, her 4-year-old Italian greyhound also began showing symptoms, according to a report published in the academic journal The Lancet.
- June 22, 2022: CDC announces a partnership with five commercial laboratories to increase testing capacity in the United States.
- June 23, 2022: New York City opens the first monkeypox vaccination clinic in the United States.
- June 28, 2022: The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Biden Administration announce an enhanced vaccination strategy and inform that more than 9,000 doses of vaccines have been distributed to date.
- July 22, 2022: Two American children contract monkeypox, the first time in the United States. According to the CDC, the two cases are not related.
- July 23, 2022: The WHO declares monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern, “an extraordinary event that may constitute a risk to the public health of other countries through the international spread of the disease and may require a coordinated international response” .
- July 27, 2022: after weeks of limited supply of monkeypox vaccines, more than 786,000 additional doses are being made available in the United States, according to HHS.
- July 29, 2022: New York declares the disaster state of emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak.
- August 1, 2022: California and Illinois declare a state of emergency. California has reported more than 800 cases, while Illinois has had more than 500, according to CDC data.
- August 2, 2022: the Biden administration creates a monkeypox response team. President Joe Biden appoints Robert Fenton of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator.
- August 2, 2022: a report from Spain’s National Institute of Microbiology indicates that two men, aged 31 and 44, who died of monkeypox in unrelated cases, had developed encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can be triggered by viral infections. Encephalitis is a very rare disease known to be associated with monkeypox. It has been reported in people with monkeypox in West Africa and in a patient in the United States in 2003 during the small outbreak linked to imported prairie dogs.
- August 4, 2022: the Biden administration declares the monkeypox outbreak a national public health emergency.
- August 5, 2022: a report published by the CDC concludes that 94% of cases occurred among men who had recent sexual or intimate contact with another man. Additionally, 54% of the cases occurred among Blacks and Latinos.
- August 9, 2022: In an effort to stretch the limited supply of Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, federal health officials are authorizing the administration of smaller doses using a different method of injection. New injection strategy allows healthcare providers to deliver shallow injections intradermally, between skin layers, at one-fifth the size of the standard dose instead of subcutaneously, which is injected into the fatty layer under the skin, with a larger dose.
- August 18, 2022: The White House announces the acceleration of the HHS vaccine distribution schedule, with the availability of an additional 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine. Additional vaccines will be distributed to communities hosting large LGBTQI+ events.
- August 19, 2022: King County, Washington State, which includes Seattle, declares monkeypox a public health emergencywith more than 270 registered cases.