Mpox is an infectious disease that is spread through close contact with contagious individuals or infected animals. Most people recover fully, but in some cases, it can lead to severe illness or death.

Vaccination against smallpox offers some degree of protection against mpox. Smallpox was eradicated in 1980, so vaccination rates against it have dropped since then. This means the protection it provided against mpox has diminished1, leading to a gradual increase in cases in West and Central Africa.

In May 2022, a notable outbreak of mpox spread across the world. This global outbreak was primarily, but not exclusively, driven through transmission via sexual contact of men who have sex with men2. The combination of public health campaigns, availability of vaccines, and actions by impacted communities led to fewer infections globally.

Although global cases have markedly declined, mpox persists in many countries in West and Central Africa. A lack of local diagnostic infrastructure means suspected mpox cases are often not confirmed and, therefore, are not included in data collected by the WHO.

We maintain a data explorer on this page, which lets you explore confirmed cases and death counts regularly published by the World Health Organization.

Explore our data on mpox

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Our articles and data visualizations rely on work from many different people and organizations. When citing this topic page, please also cite the underlying data sources. This topic page can be cited as:

Edouard Mathieu, Fiona Spooner, Saloni Dattani, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2022) - “Mpox” Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]

BibTeX citation

    author = {Edouard Mathieu and Fiona Spooner and Saloni Dattani and Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser},
    title = {Mpox},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2022},
    note = {}
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