Monkeypox infection may lead to adverse outcomes for foetus, newborns & mother: WHO report

While infection with monkeypox during pregnancy is not fully understood, limited data suggest that infection may lead to adverse outcomes for the foetus or newborn infant and for the mother, as per the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As per the global health body, while the current risk for the general public remains low. There is a risk to health workers if they are in contact with a case while not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent transmission; though not yet reported in this current outbreak, the risk of health care-associated infections has been documented in the past.

“Should monkeypox begin to spread more widely to and within more vulnerable groups, there is the potential for greater health impact as the risk of severe disease and mortality is recognized to be higher in immunocompromised individuals, including persons with poorly controlled HIV infection,” the report added.

However, WHO added that till date, all cases identified in newly affected countries whose samples were confirmed by PCR have been identified as being infected with the West African clade.

It is important to note that there are two known clades of monkeypox virus, one first identified in West Africa (WA) and one in the Congo Basin (CB) region.

The WA clade has in the past been associated with an overall lower case fatality ratio (CFR) of
Monkeypox cases have been reported in several parts of the world. To date, all cases identified in newly affected countries have been identified as being infected with the West African clade.


Since January 1 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 42 member states across five WHO regions (Americas, Africa, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific). As of June 15, a total of 2,103 laboratory confirmed cases and one probable case, including one death, have been reported to WHO.

Confirmation of one case of monkeypox, in a country, is considered an outbreak. The unexpected appearance of monkeypox in several regions in the initial absence of epidemiological links to areas that have historically reported monkeypox, suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time.

WHO assesses the risk at the global level as moderate considering this is the first time that many monkeypox cases and clusters are reported concurrently in many countries in widely disparate WHO geographical areas, balanced against the fact that mortality has remained low in the current outbreak.


All countries should be on the alert for signals related to patients presenting with a rash that progresses in sequential stages macules, papules, vesicles, pustules, scabs, at the same stage of development over all affected areas of the body that may be associated with fever, enlarged lymph nodes, back pain, and muscle aches.

During this current outbreak, many individuals are presenting with atypical symptoms, which includes a localized rash that may present as little as one lesion.

Some patients may also present with sexually transmitted infections and should be tested and treated appropriately. These individuals may present to various community and health care settings including but not limited to primary and secondary care, fever clinics, sexual health services, infectious disease units, obstetrics and gynaecology, emergency departments and dermatology clinics.

Any individual meeting the definition for a suspected case should be offered testing.

WHO added that it is closely monitoring the situation and supporting international coordination working with member states and partners.

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