The End of the Global Monkeypox Epidemic

And the beginning of an unprecedented outbreak in Africa.

Gil Pires
Microbial Instincts


Photo by David Clode on Unsplash.

In May of last year, the World Health Organization announced that the multi-country monkeypox outbreak, which began in 2022, was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Meanwhile, an unprecedented outbreak had broken out in the Congo.

Monkeypox has historically been a neglected disease, endemic only to West and Central Africa. That was, of course, until 2022 when it caused a multi-country outbreak that placed it on the international agenda for two years straight. As the disease spread in great part amongst homosexual and bisexual men, concerns over stigmatization further fueled the news cycle.

Today, though, monkeypox is no longer actively spreading in Europe or the Americas for two main reasons. Those at most risk, that is, men who have sex with other men, minimized their exposure to sexual transmission. And the preventive vaccination campaigns launched against it, with the recently approved Imvanex vaccine, showed to be successful.

Fears that the disease might become endemic in these regions have also not materialized, which is good news for those living in countries where monkeypox is not endemic. But, for those living in places where the disease has historically caused regional…