Does it matter who is spreading monkeypox? Journalartikel uri icon



  • Recently, many cases of monkeypox were reported worldwide. Although most of these cases seem to be associated with the community of men who have sex with men (MSM), not all of them are.1 Cases with west and central African monkeypox virus clades have been rising in the past 20 years.2 The current spread, due to the less transmissible and less virulent west African clade, was unexpected because observations on earlier outbreaks, mostly in African villages, 3 indicated that monkeypox outbreaks are self-limiting. In technical terms, the basic reproduction number (R0) was less than 1. R0 is the average number of secondary cases produced by a single case during the whole infectious period in a community without immunity and without interventions. The low transmissibility, obviously, must have changed during this current emergence of cases. Whether this change was due to mutations in the virus or due to a different type and frequency of contacts is interesting, but not necessarily relevant when contemplating how to stop the outbreak. The main question simply is how to reduce the average number of secondary cases per infected person to below 1. In this context, it also does not matter whether the infection mainly spreads within an MSM community or finds its way into other groups of the population. We can only speculate about the current value of R0 for monkeypox.


  • 2022


  • Open Access