Monkeypox: Introduction

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. (Cover image: Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA)

**Please note: This course was developed in 2020. For the latest updates, please refer to the relevant health topics on the WHO website.

Language: English
Basic (Basique), Normative

Course information

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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:

  • understand the emergence of monkeypox;
  • describe routes of transmission;
  • list signs and symptoms;
  • clinically identify monkeypox, chickenpox, and measles;
  • describe laboratory specimens and tests; and
  • discuss prevention and control strategies.

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.

Course contents

  • Monkeypox:

    This module provides an introductory-level overview of the disease.

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Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.