Given the health, social, and economic upheavals of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is understandable anxiety about another virus, monkeypox, quickly emerging in many countries around the world.
In West and Central Africa, where the disease has been endemic for several decades, monkeypox transmission in people usually happens in short, controllable chains of infection after contact with infected animal reservoirs. Recent monkeypox infections have been identified in non-endemic regions, with most occurring through longer chains of human-to-human spread in people without a history of contact with animals or travel to endemic regions. These seemingly different patterns of disease have prompted public health investigation. However, ending chains of monkeypox transmission requires a better understanding of the social, ecological and scientific interconnections between endemic and non-endemic areas.
In this set of companion briefs, we lay out social considerations from previous examples of disease emergence to reflect on 1) the range of response strategies available to control monkeypox, and 2) specific considerations for monkeypox risk communication and community engagement (RCCE).
We aim for these briefs to be used by public health practitioners and advisors involved in developing responses to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, particularly in non-endemic countries.
This brief on social considerations for monkeypox response was written by Syed Abbas (IDS), Soha Karam (Anthrologica), Megan Schmidt-Sane (IDS), and Jennifer Palmer (LSHTM), with contributions from Hayley MacGregor (IDS), Olivia Tulloch (Anthrologica), and Annie Wilkinson (IDS). The brief was reviewed by Boghuma Titanji (Emory University School of Medicine). This brief is the responsibility of SSHAP.