1. Overview

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans, but which can also be transmitted from human to human.

To date, monkeypox has caused several outbreaks in West and Central Africa (endemic regions). Previously reported cases in other continents have always been associated with travel to the affected areas. 

In Switzerland, the first case of monkeypox was detected in Bern on 21st May 2022. As of 7th June 2022, 10 cases had been confirmed by laboratories in Switzerland, and more than 1'000 cases diagnosed in 24 countries not usually endemic for this disease, the vast majority of which were in Europe (109 cases on 21st May and around 700 on 1st June).

Although the situation is not alarming, it needs to be closely monitored to limit spread of disease among the population.

The virus was named "Monkeypox" in 1958 in Denmark. At that time the virus was still unknown and had only been diagnosed in monkeys. Current knowledge shows that the virus infects various animal species and not mainly monkeys (for example, rodents play an important role in transmission). The disease was first diagnosed in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Since its discovery in humans, outbreaks have been rare, with very few patients. For this reason, scientists currently do not have all the answers regarding this virus.

See also 
Pages updated regularly according to the latest findings of scientific research.
Last updated
13 June 2022

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