Mpox continues to affect people around the world. A new framework released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) will guide health authorities, communities and other stakeholders in preventing and controlling mpox outbreaks, eliminating human-to-human transmission of the disease, and reducing spillover of the virus from animals to humans.

Mpox is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV). It can cause a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Most people fully recover, but some get very sick. The virus transmits from person to person through close, including sexual, contact. It also has animal reservoirs in east, central and west Africa, where spillovers from animals to humans can occasionally occur, sparking further outbreaks.

There are two different clades of the virus: clade I and clade II. Clade I outbreaks are deadlier than clade II outbreaks.

A major emergence of mpox linked to clade II began in 2017, and since 2022, has spread to all regions of the world. Between July 2022 and May 2023, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. While that outbreak has largely subsided, cases and deaths continue to be reported today, illustrating that low-level transmission continues around the world.

Currently, there is also a major outbreak of clade I virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where cases have been on the rise for decades. Since the beginning of the year, over 6500 cases and 345 deaths have been reported in the DRC. Almost half of these are among children under the age of 15 years.

The Strategic framework for enhancing prevention and control of mpox (2024–2027) provides a roadmap for health authorities, communities, and stakeholders worldwide to control mpox outbreaks in every context, advance mpox research and access to countermeasures, and to minimize zoonotic transmission.

This news release was published by the World Health Organization on May 24, 2024.