Monkeypox is an emerging infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans from infected animals, most commonly rodents. It can be spread to other people but person-to-person transmission alone cannot easily sustain an outbreak. The clinical presentation is similar to that seen in the past with smallpox but less severe. Smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1980; however, monkeypox still occurs sporadically in parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been 1-10% but with appropriate care, most patients will recover. This course provides a general introduction to monkeypox and is intended for health personnel responsible for prevention and control of monkeypox.
**Please note: This course was developed in 2020. For the latest updates, please refer to the relevant health topics on the WHO website.
The content and scope of this course on monkeypox have been tailored for outbreaks in African countries where the disease is endemic. The course material was last updated in 2020 and may not reflect most recent WHO guidance issued for the multi-country outbreak in 2022.
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Overview: Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes human monkeypox, a viral disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, including fever and rash. Following the worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1980, monkeypox emerged as the most significant orthopoxvirus infection in humans. Cases are most often reported from rural areas of Central and West African countries, particularly in regions close to tropical rainforest where people may have contact with infected animals. Someone can become infected through direct contact with respiratory droplets of another person who has monkeypox in the home or in a health facility, or with contaminated materials such as bedding. Although these are the main modes of person-to-person transmission, monkeypox outbreaks tend to occur in small clusters of a few cases without leading to widespread community transmission. For this reason, outbreaks can be easily controlled when responded to rapidly. On several occasions, monkeypox has been reported in other regions due to importation by travelers or infected animals. This course provides a general introduction to the disease through a video and accompanying downloadable presentation that can be reviewed at your own pace. It is intended for health personnel responsible for prevention and control of monkeypox, and for the general public.
Learning objectives: By the end of this course, participants should be able to:
Course duration: Approximately 1 hour.
Certificates: Participants can gain a Record of Achievement by scoring 80% and over on the course assessment. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.