Since the middle of this year, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 12 non-endemic member countries in three WHO regions. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, but reported cases to date have not been linked to travel to endemic areas.

On 23 July, the WHO Director-General declared the global outbreak of monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Currently, most reported cases occur in the WHO European Region. WHO/Europe is committed to working with countries and communities to tackle the outbreak with the necessary urgency.

The overall situation is improving, but WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to be detected as surveillance expands to countries where monkeypox is not endemic. Urgent action is needed, focusing on providing accurate information to those who may be most at risk of monkeypox infection and preventing further spread. But the first step to knowing what to do is understanding the disease's details. Then you can decide what other actions to take.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. Orthopoxvirus includes the variola virus that causes smallpox, the vaccinia virus used in the smallpox vaccine and the cowpox virus. Also, note that monkeypox is not related to chicken pox.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two smallpox-like outbreaks occurred in a colony of monkeys for research purposes. It is called monkeypox, but its cause is unknown. However, non-human primates such as African rodents and monkeys can carry the virus and infect humans.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in several other Central and West African countries. Before the 2022 spread, almost all cases of monkeypox in humans outside of Africa were linked to international travel or travel via imported animals to countries where the disease is endemic. In such situations, preparation and action like having health insurance is vital.

Symptoms of monkeypox

  • Heat
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain and back pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion
A pimple-like or blister-like rash appears on other parts of the body, such as the face, mouth, hands, feet, chest, genitals, and anus.

The rash goes through several stages before it heals completely. This process may take several weeks. A rash may appear first, followed by other symptoms. Others experience a rash later. Therefore, knowing if you have monkeypox without a medical examination is challenging. Health insurance allows you to get the correct diagnosis at the right time.

How does it spread?

Monkeypox is spread in many ways. The virus is transmitted from person to person in the following ways:
  • Direct contact with infectious rashes, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during close physical contact.
  • Touching items such as clothing or bedding that have previously been in contact with an infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Pregnant people can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.
  • Monkeypox can also be sent to humans by being scratched or bitten by an animal, cooking or eating meat, or using infected animal products from infected animals.
  • Monkeypox can spread from when symptoms start until the rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed. This may take several weeks. People who do not have symptoms of monkeypox cannot transmit the virus to others.


  • There are many measures to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus.
  • Avoid contact with animals that may be carrying the virus, such as sick or dead animals in areas where monkeypox is endemic.
  • Avoid contact with materials such as bedding that have been in contact with sick animals.
  • Isolate infected patients from others who may be at risk of infection.
  • Follow good hand hygiene after contact with animals or infected people. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
Even with all these precautions, there is no guarantee that you won't get monkeypox. Therefore, it is recommended to buy health insurance to prepare for any situation.