Monkeypox

3. People at risk

The risk to the general population is considered to be low. Nevertheless, the health authorities need to be attentive and vigilant in the face of a new and extraordinary situation, where the number of cases is increasing and contaminations are occurring outside endemic areas and without being related to returning from a trip abroad.

People most at risk of infection

The people most at risk of infection are those who have close contact with an infectious person, for example :

  • Health workers in close contact with a symptomatic person if they are not wearing appropriate protective equipment
  • People living in the same household as a person with symptoms
  • Sexual partners of a person with symptoms
  • People who have skin-to-skin or skin-to-body fluid contact or contact with the clothes, sheets, towels of an infected person.

People at risk of complications

The disease is usually mild. Most patients recover within a few weeks.

Based on knowledge from previous outbreaks, people at risk of developing a severe form of the disease are :

  • pregnant women
  • young children
  • elderly persons*
  • people with a weakened immune system.

* Elderly people, however, have a low risk of contracting monkeypox. In Switzerland, adults over 50 years of age were vaccinated against (human) smallpox in their childhood and up until 1972. This vaccine was also very effective against monkeypox.

Last updated
14 June 2022

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