Monkeypox is a rapidly spreading viral disease that appeared in Africa in the 1970s.
These are the main dates for this disease of animal origin, which is usually not serious and has a virus similar to human smallpox, a disease that ended in 1980:
– 1970: The first case surfaced
According to the WHO, monkeypox was first detected in humans in 1970 in a 9-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, then Zaire).
Since then, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in rural or forested areas of 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Cte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Congo, DRC, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.
– 2003: First outbreak outside Africa
The first outbreak outside the African continent occurred in the United States in June 2003.
Health officials at the Centers for Disease Investigation and Control (CDC) reported 87 cases (20 of which were confirmed by analysis) but no deaths.
The disease spread there after domestic prairie dogs were contaminated by rodents imported from Ghana.
– 2017: Epidemic in Nigeria
According to the WHO, as of 2017, Nigeria is experiencing “a major pandemic” with more than 500 suspected cases, more than 200 confirmed cases, and a mortality rate of around 3%.
Sporadic cases have been reported in travelers arriving from Nigeria in Israel (September 2018), the United Kingdom (September 2018, December 2019, May 2021 and May 2022), Singapore (May 2019) and the United States (July and November 2021) .
– May 2022: outbreak of cases outside Africa
As of May 2022, cases have been reported in countries where the disease was not endemic until then. In the United Kingdom, as of early May, a series of infections have been detected, particularly in gay men.
As of May 20, there are 20 patients in this country.
The disease also affects Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Sweden.
The WHO then records 80 confirmed cases in the world, with infections also reported in the United States, Canada and Australia.
– End of May: Vaccination of contact cases
On May 23, the United States announced the vaccination of contact cases with smallpox vaccine, which is equally effective against monkeypox.
On the 26th, the European Union indicated that it was preparing for a joint purchase of vaccines and treatments against monkeypox, while France vaccinated the first case on the 27th.
– Beginning of June: More than 1,000 cases
On 8 June, WHO President, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced “more than 1,000 confirmed cases” in 29 countries where the disease was no longer endemic.
On the 25th, he considers the outbreak a very worrying health threat, but one that has not yet reached the level of a “global health emergency”.
– end of June: preventive vaccination
On June 21, the United Kingdom, which has about 800 cases, calls for preventive vaccination of “at risk” men, especially those with multiple partners, including homosexuals.
On 8 July, France also proposes preventive vaccination.
– Mid-July: More than 14,500 cases in 70 countries
As of July 19, US health officials (CDC) have reported more than 14,500 confirmed cases in some sixty countries where the disease was hitherto unknown.
European countries, the United States and Canada focus on the majority of cases.
– July 23:
WHO activates its highest level of alert for monkeypox.