Mpox in the United States Fast Facts

Mpox is a virus that originated in Africa. It is the cousin of the smallpox virus. The virus was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.

Mpox in the United States Fast Facts

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the WHO's latest recommendation on what to call the virus.


Check out this video on mpox in the United States. The World Health Organization declared an outbreak in 2022 a public-health emergency of international concern. The virus is a cousin of smallpox and originated in Africa.


After working with the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses, WHO renames the virus mpox in November 2022. This is after the ICTV worked to rename the virus using a non-stigmatizing and non-offensive nomenclature.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Mpox virus is the cause of mpox. It usually causes lesions that look like pimples or blisters, and symptoms similar to flu such as fever. It is rare for the disease to be fatal.

Mpox is spread by close contact. Direct physical contact, as well as the'respiratory secrets' that are shared by face-to-face interactions and touching objects contaminated with mpox fluids or lesions is included. The virus can also be transmitted to a fetus via the placenta.

The CDC reports that mpox can affect anyone, but more than 99% have occurred in men who had sex with other men. The mpox virus is not considered to be a sexually transmissible disease.

Mpox occurs most commonly in West and Central Africa. However, in the past few years, cases have also been reported in Europe, the United Kingdom and other parts around the globe. These cases are usually linked to travel abroad or imported animals that have been infected by the poxvirus.

Case Tracking

Timeline for the 2022 Outbreak

Mpox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of Mpox were caused by monkeys used for research in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1970 - First human case recorded in Zaire.

More than 80 cases of an outbreak occur in 2003 in the United States, linked to pet prairie dogs imported infected from Ghana.

July 16, 2021 – The CDC in Dallas and the local health officials announce that they are investigating a case mpox among a Nigerian traveler. The individual is a City of Dallas Resident who travelled from Nigeria to Dallas and arrived at Love Field Airport on July 9, 2020. Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release that the person was hospitalized and in stable condition.

May 17, 2022 – The CDC reports the first US confirmed case of mpox during the outbreak in 2022. It was reported by a Canadian traveler returning to Massachusetts.

May 19, 2022: WHO reports that the death rate of the outbreak has been between 3% to 6%.

May 23, 2022 – The CDC releases mpox doses from its Strategic National Stockpile to 'high risk people'. The two-dose Jynneos is approved in the United States to prevent both smallpox, and mpox.

May 26, 2022 – CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announces the United States will distribute the vaccine in states that have reported cases. She also recommends vaccination to people who are at the highest risk of infection because they had direct contact with a person with mpox.

The CDC announces a new partnership with five commercial labs to increase testing capacity in the United States.

New York City opens the first mpox vaccine clinic in the United States on June 23, 2022.

US Department of Health and Human Services and Biden Administration announce a strengthened vaccination strategy and state that over 9,000 doses of the vaccine have already been distributed.

On July 22, 2022, two American children contract the mpox virus - this is a first for the United States. According to the CDC the two cases have no relation.

WHO declares the mpox an emergency public health situation of international concern on July 23, 2022. This is a 'rare event' that could pose a risk to public health in other countries due to international disease spread and require a coordinated international response.

HHS reports that more than 786,00 additional doses of the mpox vaccine are now available in the United States.

New York declares an emergency state of disaster in response to a mpox epidemic on July 29, 2022.

California and Illinois declare a state of emergency on August 1, 2022. California reported over 800 cases while Illinois had more than 500 according to CDC data.

The Biden administration creates an mpox team on August 2, 2022. Robert Fenton, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA), is named by President Joe Biden as the White House National mpox Response Coordinator.

In a report published by the National Institute for Microbiology in Spain, two men aged 31 and 44 who both died of mpox, but in separate cases, had developed encephalitis or swelling of brain. This condition can be caused by viral infections. Encephalitis, a rare condition associated with mpox, is known. Encephalitis has been reported among people who have mpox from West Africa, and in the United States during the 2003 small outbreak associated with imported prairie dogs.

August 4, 2022: The Biden administration declares a public health emergency in the United States due to an outbreak of mpox.

The CDC published a report on August 5, 2022, which found that 94% cases occurred among men who have had close or recent intimate sexual contact with another male. In addition, 54% were Black Americans and Latinos.

Federal health officials authorized the administration of smaller doses of Jynneos MPox vaccine using a new method of injection on August 9, 2022. The new strategy allows healthcare providers to administer shallow intradermal injections between skin layers, using one-fifth of the standard dose, instead of subcutaneously into the fatty layer beneath the skin with the larger dosage.

On August 18, 2022, the White House will announce the acceleration of HHS's vaccine distribution timeline. An additional 1.8 millions doses of Jynneos will be made available. The White House will distribute additional vaccines to LGBTQI+ communities that are hosting large events.

Seattle's King County in Washington declares an emergency public health situation due to the mpox outbreak. There are more than 270 cases.