Monkeypox natural history

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Bassel Almarie M.D.[2]


Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms resolving within 2 to 4 weeks. Complications are rare. They include secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, corneal inflammation of the eyes[1][2][3], and conjunctivitis[4].


The complications of monkeypox are rare.

  • Common complications include secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, corneal inflammation of the eyes[1][2][3], and conjunctivitis[4].
  • Recent reported complications were painful proctitis, tonsillitis, penile edema, and skin abscesses[5].


Uncomplicated cases resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. Complications may lead to death. Most reported deaths were among children, and HIV patients[6][7][8].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jezek Z, Grab B, Szczeniowski M, Paluku KM, Mutombo M (1988). "Clinico-epidemiological features of monkeypox patients with an animal or human source of infection". Bull World Health Organ. 66 (4): 459–64. PMC 2491168. PMID 2844428.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Learned LA, Reynolds MG, Wassa DW, Li Y, Olson VA, Karem K; et al. (2005). "Extended interhuman transmission of monkeypox in a hospital community in the Republic of the Congo, 2003". Am J Trop Med Hyg. 73 (2): 428–34. PMID 16103616.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Huhn GD, Bauer AM, Yorita K, Graham MB, Sejvar J, Likos A; et al. (2005). "Clinical characteristics of human monkeypox, and risk factors for severe disease". Clin Infect Dis. 41 (12): 1742–51. doi:10.1086/498115. PMID 16288398.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Redirecting". Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  5. Ogoina D (2022). "Sexual behaviours and clinical course of human monkeypox in Spain". Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01497-0. PMID 35952704 Check |pmid= value (help).
  6. Yinka-Ogunleye A, Aruna O, Dalhat M, Ogoina D, McCollum A, Disu Y; et al. (2019). "Outbreak of human monkeypox in Nigeria in 2017-18: a clinical and epidemiological report". Lancet Infect Dis. 19 (8): 872–879. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30294-4. PMID 31285143.
  7. Beer EM, Rao VB (2019). "A systematic review of the epidemiology of human monkeypox outbreaks and implications for outbreak strategy". PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 13 (10): e0007791. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0007791. PMC 6816577 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 31618206.
  8. Ogoina D, Iroezindu M, James HI, Oladokun R, Yinka-Ogunleye A, Wakama P; et al. (2020). "Clinical Course and Outcome of Human Monkeypox in Nigeria". Clin Infect Dis. 71 (8): e210–e214. doi:10.1093/cid/ciaa143. PMID 32052029 Check |pmid= value (help).