Monkeypox: A focused narrative review for emergency medicine clinicians

Brit Long, Alex Koyfman, Michael Gottlieb, Stephen Y. Liang, Brandon M. Carius, Summer Chavez, William J. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Introduction: Monkeypox is an emerging viral disease that has been declared a global health emergency. While this disease has been present for over 50 years, the recent surge in cases and expanding knowledge of this has prompted a need for a focused review for practicing clinicians. Objective: This narrative review provides a focused overview of the epidemiology, presentation, evaluation, and management of monkeypox for emergency clinicians. Discussion: Monkeypox is an orthopoxvirus endemic to central and western Africa. An outbreak in May and June 2022 across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America was declared a global health emergency in July 2022. The disease can be transmitted via contact with an infected animal or human, as well as contact with a contaminated material. The disease presents with a prodromal flu-like illness and lymphadenopathy. A rash spreading in a centrifugal manner involving the oral mucosa, face, palms, and soles is typical. Lesions progress along various stages. Complications such as bacterial skin infection, pneumonitis, ocular conditions, and encephalitis are uncommon. Confirmation typically includes polymerase chain reaction testing. The majority of patients improve with symptomatic therapy, and as of July 2022, there are no United States Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments specifically for monkeypox. However, antiviral treatment should be considered for several patient populations at risk for severe outcomes. Conclusion: An understanding of the presentation, evaluation, and management of monkeypox is essential for emergency clinicians to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment of this emerging disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Infectious disease
  • Monkeypox
  • Orthopoxvirus
  • Rash
  • Viral infection
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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