Mpox a.k.a. Monkeypox is caused by the mpox virus, and is a zoonotic disease (i.e. it is transmitted from animals to humans). The mpox virus is a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. It is closely related to the variola virus, which causes smallpox and has had a marked impact on human populations throughout history. According to WHO there are currently two clades of mpox virus; the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade. An outbreak began in Europe during May 2022. As of Septmber 2022, more than 20,000 cases have been detected in Europe, with 161 cases detected in Sweden and reported to the Swedish Public Health Agency.
Clinically, mpox is typically characterised by fever, an unexplained acute rash, and lymphadenopathy. Additional symptoms and complications may also occur, though. For more information about the clinical symptoms of mpox, see information from the CDC. The incubation period of the virus is typically 5-13 days, but can be as long as three weeks. Close personal contact with an infected individual is currently (September, 2022) the most common way of transmission and limited information is available regarding mortality (Adler et al., 2022). The European Medicines Agency has not yet approved a vaccine in Europe. However, EU healthcare has access to doses of Jynneos vaccine, which is approved by the FDA for both mpox and smallpox. These vaccine doses were donated by the USA and Canada via the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
There are no approved treatments for human mpox as of September 2022. However, brincidofovir and tecovirimat, which are both drugs approved in the USA for use against smallpox, have been repurposed and show promise in animal studies (Adler et al., 2022).