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Monkeypox is a zoonotic infection caused by the orthopox DNA monkeypox virus. Early in 2022, a sharp increase in monkeypox cases was observed. The exact reason for this epidemiological change is not well understood. In fact, some phylogenetic analyses of the current circulating strain suggest it may have been circulating at low levels since 2017–2019.1 Other potential reasons for the increase in cases include waning smallpox immunity and/or behavioural changes and increased travel post-COVID-19 restrictions.
As of 17 October, more than 73 000 cases of monkeypox have been diagnosed worldwide during 2022, including in 102 countries in which monkeypox does not routinely occur.2 While still a rare disease, the WHO declared the rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak a global public health emergency on 23 July 2022.3 This editorial summarises information on recognition and prevention of monkeypox relevant to sport, athletes, and clinicians. Treatment and diagnostic testing for monkeypox are beyond the scope of this editorial.4
What are monkeypox symptoms?
The most common symptoms of monkeypox are fever and rash. Thornhill et al summarised findings from 528 cases in 16 countries in the current outbreak.5 Rash was present in 95% of cases, and fever was present in 62%. The rash can be widely disseminated but may not be readily evident in some cases; 39% of patients in the cohort had fewer than five lesions, and 10% had …
Contributors Both authors have contributed equally to the completion of this editorial and have seen the final submitted manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.