The first human case of monkeypox—a rare zoonotic virus that can transmit from animals to people—was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970. Since then, the disease has become endemic in parts of West Africa, although outbreaks have been known to occur in other places, such as the United States in 2003 and now in over 60 non-endemic countries. This timeline is a running account, gathered in real-time, of key events in the 2022 outbreak as they unfold. We will be updating this timeline frequently as new developments are reported. You can access all of Think Global Health's monkeypox coverage here.
Status as of August 10, 2022
- Total Cases Confirmed Globally: 29,833
- Total Deaths Confirmed Globally: 11
- Number of Countries with Confirmed Cases: 81
Ongoing Timeline of Events Follows
Week of August 5 to August 11: U.S. Approves New 'Dose-Spreading' Vaccine Strategy; Monkeys Attacked in Brazil; Spread Slows in UK
- World Health Organization (WHO) asks people not to attack monkeys after several monkeys were poisoned or stoned in Brazil. Despite its name, monkeypox is spread through human-to-human transmission and not by monkeys.
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) considers 'dose-spreading' strategy approved by the United States, but the WHO has called for more data and trials before such a strategy is used.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new way of administering monkeypox vaccines in which each person would receive a smaller dose in an effort to make a limited number of vaccines stretch to more people. The new method, which was authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization, has elicited controversy among experts.
- United States purchases $26 million worth of Sigma VI's intravenous monkeypox treatment Tpoxx.
- Police in Washington, DC are investigating an assault on two gay men in which anti-gay slurs and references to monkeypox were used as a hate crime.
- A California wastewater surveillance system used to track COVID-19 outbreaks has been adapted to track monkeypox as well.
- A daycare worker in Illinois tested positive for monkeypox, causing a scare about the potential exposure of children to the virus. None of the children were infected, but all were given the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is available to men who have sex with men (MSM) and close contacts of those who have been infected.
- The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says there were "early signs" that the monkeypox outbreak is plateauing across the country and that its expansion has slowed.
Week of July 29 to August 4: First deaths in Brazil, Ghana, India, and Spain; U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency; Philippines and Sudan Report First Cases
- The United States declares monkeypox a public health emergency.
- Experts debate how to address stigma and the fact that monkeypox has so far primarily affected men who have sex with men (MSM) and members of the LGBTQ+ community and whether or not limiting one's sexual partners is a useful strategy for preventing the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also noted that in Africa, where the disease is endemic, outbreaks are not concentrated in MSM communities and affect a wider segment of the population.
- New Zealand placed on waitlist for monkeypox vaccines.
- Japanese pharmaceutical company KM Biologics Co sees spike in interest in its monkeypox vaccine from other countries.
- World Health Organization (WHO) encounters difficulties in its efforts to rename monkeypox.
- India confirms its first monkeypox death in the state of Kerala.
- Ghana confirms its first monkeypox death.
- Sudan reports its first monkeypox case.
- Doctors and activists in Brazil and Mexico criticize their countries' slow response to the monkeypox outbreak.
- New York City declares monkeypox a public health emergency.
- Brazil and Spain report two monkeypox deaths, the first fatal cases in Europe.
- Philippines reports its first monkeypox case.
- Japan approves KM Biologics Co smallpox vaccine for the treatment of monkeypox
Week of July 22 to July 28: WHO Declares Monkeypox a Global Health Emergency; Japan Reports First Case; EU Approves Bavarian Nordic Vaccine
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the release of 780,000 vaccines.
- WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised members of the men who have sex with men (MSM) community to limit their exposure to the virus by reducing their number of sex partners and reconsidering sex with new partners.
- Australia declares monkeypox a disease of national significance, which opens the door to a more coordinated response.
- Thai researchers examine wastewater to track monkeypox.
- France opens dedicated monkeypox vaccination center in Paris and has vaccinated more than 6,000 people nationwide.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to designate monkeypox a nationally notifiable condition starting August 1, which updates criteria for reporting data on cases by states to the agency and would allow the agency to monitor and respond to monkeypox even after the current outbreak recedes.
- United States becomes country with the most recorded monkeypox cases, surpassing Spain, according to data from the CDC.
- Biden Administration floats $7 billion funding estimate to Congress to mount a response to the nation's monkeypox outbreak.
- Japan records first case and steps up preparations for an outbreak.
- European Union approves Bavarian Nordic vaccine for monkeypox.
- WHO warns that monkeypox could soon spread beyond MSM communities to other portions of the population.
- Gaps and delays in collecting data are hindering the response to monkeypox, according to the CDC.
- Experts are divided over predictions about how monkeypox will spread. Some fear that the virus will become entrenched like some other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) while others believe it can still be contained.
- Sexual health advocates in the United Kingdom call on Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to ramp up monkeypox vaccination.
- WHO declares monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency, a designation used to describe only two other diseases, COVID-19 and Polio. The decision is significant in part because WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus overruled a panel of advisers, who could not come to a consensus and also because it opens the door for a coordinated international response to fight the virus.
- CDC announces two cases of monkeypox in children in the United States.
Week of July 16 to July 21: WHO Emergency Committee Reconvenes; Thailand Reports First Case; Germany to Prioritize First Dose of Vaccine
- WHO Emergency Committee reconvenes to discuss monkeypox and whether it constitutes a public health emergency as cases top 14,000.
- Germany's vaccine advisory instructs medical professionals to use all available monkeypox vaccines to prioritize first doses.
- Thailand reports first case.
- LGBTQ activists call on the United States for more attention and resources to be devoted to monkeypox.
- Experts suggest that the window to contain monkeypox may have closed and that it could become endemic in MSM communities.
- U.S. monkeypox patients report difficulty accessing pain and symptom relief for severe cases.
Week of July 9 to July 15: India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia Report First Cases; CDC Plans to Use Controversial Drug
- India reports first case of monkeypox, marking the virus's spread to the South Asia region.
- U.S. health-care workers complain of daunting bureaucracy impeding treatment of monkeypox.
- CDC plans to use smallpox drug Tembexa to treat monkeypox, despite the drug's serious side effects.
- Saudi Arabia reports first case.
- A New York City government website to facilitate monkeypox vaccination crashes due to large demand.
- Russia reports first case of monkeypox.
- United Kingdom downgrades its classification of the monkeypox outbreak from "high consequence infectious disease" but intends to remain vigilant.
Week of July 2 to July 8: WHO Revisits Earlier Decision About Whether Monkeypox Constitutes a Public Health Emergency After Two Deaths in Africa; United States Expands Testing and Vaccination
- Demand for Monkeypox Vaccines in United States outstrips supply.
- Biden Administration announces dissemination of 144,000 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine to combat spread of monkeypox
- World Health Organization (WHO) reconvenes the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to discuss the spread of monkeypox, which earlier declined to label the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
- WHO records two confirmed deaths from monkeypox in Africa bringing the total of confirmed deaths from monkeypox in 2022 to three.
- It also reported that among cases with available data on gender, 99 percent were in men.
- The Dominican Republic records first case of monkeypox.
- U.S. company Labcorp begins offering monkeypox PCR tests in partnership with the CDC.
- Panama records first case of monkeypox.
Week of June 25 to July 1: United States Begins Vaccine Rollout as the WHO Determines Monkeypox is Not a Public Health Emergency
- Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) treats monkeypox as a health emergency, even after the WHO declines to label the outbreak as such.
- The United States announces the purchase of 2.5 million JYNNEOS vaccines for monkeypox.
- WHO works to improve surveillance, testing, and genome sequencing of monkeypox in Africa.
- Turkey reports first case.
- Unusual spread of monkeypox puzzles researchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease is endemic and researchers have been studying it for decades.
- The Biden Administration announces the first phase of its national monkeypox vaccine strategy involving the dissemination of 56,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine of a planned 300,000 vaccines.
- Nigerian health authorities say monkeypox infections in Nigeria could reach a five-year high by the end of 2022.
- WHO records 3,413 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death from 50 countries and territories since the start of 2022.
- WHO Emergency Committee determines that monkeypox is not a public health emergency.
Week of June 18 to June 24: Monkeypox Cases Confirmed in East Asia; United States Expands Testing
- CDC begins exploring whether the monkeypox vaccine is safe and advisable for use in children.
- Bulgaria reports first cases.
- Monkeypox cases confirmed in South Korea and Singapore.
- United States expands monkeypox testing capacity as outbreak grows.
- United Kingdom introduces policy to provide vaccine access to at-risk men in addition to health-care workers and close contacts of those who have contracted the virus.
- Lebanon reports first case.
Week of June 11 to June 17: Wealthy Nations Begin Purchasing Vaccines for Monkeypox
- WHO records a total of 2,103 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case, including one death, in 42 member states.
- Serbia and Chile report first cases.
- WHO Regional Director for Africa announces preparations to procure monkeypox vaccines for African countries.
- WHO announces the creation of a new vaccine-sharing mechanism to stop the outbreak of monkeypox.
- WHO expresses intention to rename monkeypox after scientists raise worries over stigmatization and convenes the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to discuss the spread of monkeypox.
- European Union signs deal with Bavarian Nordic for 110,000 monkeypox vaccines.
Week of June 2 to June 9: Brazil, Ghana, and Morocco Report First Cases
- WHO records 1,285 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case from 28 countries in which monkeypox is not endemic for monkeypox virus since May 13 after 2 cases were reported in Latvia.
- Poland confirms first case.
- United States purchases 500,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine as the CDC broadens the range of symptoms used to identify monkeypox.
- Brazil confirms first case.
- Ghana confirms first five cases.
- WHO records 780 laboratory-confirmed cases and zero deaths from 27 countries in which monkeypox is not endemic for monkeypox virus since May 13. New countries include Hungary, Ireland, Malta, and Norway.
- Morocco records first case.
Week of May 27 to June 1: Monkeypox Reaches Latin America; United Kingdom Issues Its First Monkeypox Vaccines; One Death in Nigeria
- WHO report suggests that monkeypox may have been circulating undetected in non-endemic countries well before it was first officially recorded.
- Nigeria reports its first confirmed death from monkeypox. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that in 2022 it has confirmed 21 out of 66 suspected cases of the disease.
- WHO records 257 laboratory-confirmed cases, 120 suspected cases, and zero deaths from 23 countries in which monkeypox is not endemic for monkeypox virus since May 13.
- Mexico records first case of monkeypox.
- Spanish LGBTQ advocates express fears about stigmatization of gay men due to monkeypox ahead of Pride events.
- Ireland preemptively secures order of monkeypox vaccines.
- United Kingdom vaccinates three people who had come in close contact with someone who had monkeypox.
Week of May 20 to May 26: Wealthy Nations Begin Exploring Testing and Vaccination Options as More Countries Report Cases and in Larger Numbers
- Tanzanian health authorities issue guidance on monkeypox.
- Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) makes a statement warning against vaccine hoarding for monkeypox
- Denmark purchases 200 vaccines from the Netherlands with intention to buy 2,000-3,000 more.
- South African public health experts dismiss idea of mass vaccination campaign but say they will remain vigilant.
- Cases in France rise from 3 to 5.
- Roche Holding AG develops PCR test kits to identify monkeypox.
- Spain records 50 cases.
- Germany purchases 40,000 Bavarian Nordic monkeypox vaccines as a precautionary measure.
- Czechia, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates report first cases.
- French health authority recommends a targeted vaccination campaign to curtail monkeypox.
- European Union initiates talks with manufacturers for centralized vaccine purchase.
- WHO spokeswoman asserts that the monkeypox outbreak can still be contained.
- U.S. President Joe Biden says he did not believe a quarantine to prevent the spread of monkeypox in the United States would be necessary, and that there are sufficient vaccine doses available to combat any serious flare-up of the disease.
- WHO spokesperson says there is no evidence that monkeypox has mutated.
- Portugal reports an additional 14 cases, bringing the total to 37.
- Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories suggesting the United States is the culprit behind monkeypox begin to circulate on Chinese social media.
- Monkeypox fears fuel stock prices in companies that produce antivirals and vaccines.
- Belgium becomes first country to institute monkeypox quarantine.
- UNAIDS urges media outlets, governments, and communities to respond with a rights-based, evidence-based approach that avoids stigma.
- WHO records 92 laboratory-confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases from 12 countries in which monkeypox is not endemic for monkeypox virus in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States since May 13.
- Early epidemiology of initial cases notified to WHO by countries shows that cases have been mainly reported amongst men who have sex with men (MSM).
- Switzerland reports first case.
Week of May 12 to May 19: Monkeypox Cases Recorded in United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, and Canada
- Public health authorities in Canada begin investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox in Montreal. The first case in Canada is believed to have appeared on April 29 in a patient who had traveled from the United States.
- First draft genome sequence of Monkeypox virus associated with the suspected multicountry outbreak suggests the strain most closely resembles viruses carried by travelers from Nigeria to Singapore, Israel, and the United Kingdom in 2018 and 2019.
- Italy reports first confirmed case and two additional suspected cases.
- Portugal reports 14 cases and an additional 20 suspected cases after identifying them as the West African strain of monkeypox, which is less severe than the Congo strain.
- The United Kingdom reports two new cases of monkeypox that do not appear to be related to the first.
Week of May 7 to May 11: Monkeypox First Identified in a Non-Endemic Country
- A patient is treated for monkeypox in the United Kingdom by a specialist after returning from travel in Nigeria.