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The changing epidemiology of human monkeypox-A potential threat? A systematic review


Bunge, Eveline M; Hoet, Bernard; Chen, Liddy; Lienert, Florian; Weidenthaler, Heinz; Baer, Lorraine R; Steffen, Robert (2022). The changing epidemiology of human monkeypox-A potential threat? A systematic review. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 16(2):e0010141.

Abstract

Monkeypox, a zoonotic disease caused by an orthopoxvirus, results in a smallpox-like disease in humans. Since monkeypox in humans was initially diagnosed in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it has spread to other regions of Africa (primarily West and Central), and cases outside Africa have emerged in recent years. We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature on how monkeypox epidemiology has evolved, with particular emphasis on the number of confirmed, probable, and/or possible cases, age at presentation, mortality, and geographical spread. The review is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020208269). We identified 48 peer-reviewed articles and 18 grey literature sources for data extraction. The number of human monkeypox cases has been on the rise since the 1970s, with the most dramatic increases occurring in the DRC. The median age at presentation has increased from 4 (1970s) to 21 years (2010-2019). There was an overall case fatality rate of 8.7%, with a significant difference between clades-Central African 10.6% (95% CI: 8.4%- 13.3%) vs. West African 3.6% (95% CI: 1.7%- 6.8%). Since 2003, import- and travel-related spread outside of Africa has occasionally resulted in outbreaks. Interactions/activities with infected animals or individuals are risk behaviors associated with acquiring monkeypox. Our review shows an escalation of monkeypox cases, especially in the highly endemic DRC, a spread to other countries, and a growing median age from young children to young adults. These findings may be related to the cessation of smallpox vaccination, which provided some cross-protection against monkeypox, leading to increased human-to-human transmission. The appearance of outbreaks beyond Africa highlights the global relevance of the disease. Increased surveillance and detection of monkeypox cases are essential tools for understanding the continuously changing epidemiology of this resurging disease.

Abstract

Monkeypox, a zoonotic disease caused by an orthopoxvirus, results in a smallpox-like disease in humans. Since monkeypox in humans was initially diagnosed in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it has spread to other regions of Africa (primarily West and Central), and cases outside Africa have emerged in recent years. We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature on how monkeypox epidemiology has evolved, with particular emphasis on the number of confirmed, probable, and/or possible cases, age at presentation, mortality, and geographical spread. The review is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020208269). We identified 48 peer-reviewed articles and 18 grey literature sources for data extraction. The number of human monkeypox cases has been on the rise since the 1970s, with the most dramatic increases occurring in the DRC. The median age at presentation has increased from 4 (1970s) to 21 years (2010-2019). There was an overall case fatality rate of 8.7%, with a significant difference between clades-Central African 10.6% (95% CI: 8.4%- 13.3%) vs. West African 3.6% (95% CI: 1.7%- 6.8%). Since 2003, import- and travel-related spread outside of Africa has occasionally resulted in outbreaks. Interactions/activities with infected animals or individuals are risk behaviors associated with acquiring monkeypox. Our review shows an escalation of monkeypox cases, especially in the highly endemic DRC, a spread to other countries, and a growing median age from young children to young adults. These findings may be related to the cessation of smallpox vaccination, which provided some cross-protection against monkeypox, leading to increased human-to-human transmission. The appearance of outbreaks beyond Africa highlights the global relevance of the disease. Increased surveillance and detection of monkeypox cases are essential tools for understanding the continuously changing epidemiology of this resurging disease.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:February 2022
Deposited On:04 Jan 2023 10:23
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1935-2727
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0010141
PubMed ID:35148313
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)