3. People at risk for complications
Monkeypox is usually a mild disease, but it is not harmless. The disease is said to be mild because, in this outbreak, most patients recover within a few weeks, without specific treatment and without hospitalisation. However, monkeypox is not benign because infected people can experience severe pain in the lesions and because more vulnerable people can develop a severe form of the disease.
According to the knowledge available from previous outbreaks, the 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.