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Mpox (monkeypox) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

18 Mar 2024

The World Health Organization and national Ministry of Health report continuing transmission of mpox (monkeypox) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In 2023, 14 626 suspected cases (654 deaths) were reported. There have been 3 576 suspected mpox cases (265 deaths) in DRC in the first 9 weeks of 2024, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It has been reported that sexual transmission is occurring in the outbreak.

Advice to Travellers

Mpox, due to the mpox virus, occurs mainly in Central and West Africa. Transmission between people occurs through close skin to skin contact (including during sexual contact), or through droplet spread during close contact with a person infected with mpox. Infection also results from touching or eating infected animals, primarily rodents (rats, mice and squirrels) and monkeys.

If you are travelling to Central or West Africa you should:

  • practise careful hand hygiene if you are visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives
  • avoid contact with monkeys and rodents (rats, mice and squirrels) and avoid eating undercooked meat from these animals
  • wear protective clothing, including gloves, if you are involved in the slaughter or care of animals in these regions

If you are travelling to any destination and will be sexually active during travel (including GBMSM) you should:

  • be aware of the risk of mpox
  • practise safe sex 
  • avoid close, including sexual contact, with someone who is unwell and may have mpox.

Seek medical advice during or for 21 days after travelling if you develop symptoms of mpox and have had close contact with someone who may have mpox, or have returned from Central or West Africa

  • make sure you are checked for malaria if you are returning from Africa with a fever or flu-like illness

While a vaccine specifically against mpox is not available, the smallpox vaccine provides some protection.

  • for information about the vaccine, see NHS inform (Scotland) and NHS.UK (rest of UK)

For further information on the disease and how you can protect yourself, see the MpoxSexual Health Risks and LGBT travellers pages.