Does Monkeypox Spread Before Symptoms Appear? Examining the Evidence and Understanding Transmission

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that can cause fever, rash, and other symptoms in both humans and animals.

Does Monkeypox Spread Before Symptoms Appear? Examining the Evidence and Understanding Transmission
Photo by Noah / Unsplash

As with many infectious diseases, one of the most pressing questions surrounding monkeypox is whether the virus can spread before symptoms appear. In this article, we will examine the available evidence on the transmission of monkeypox and explore why the virus may or may not be able to spread before symptoms are present.

Understanding Monkeypox Transmission

Before we can answer the question of whether monkeypox can spread before symptoms appear, it's important to have a basic understanding of how the virus is transmitted. According to the Monkeypox Tracker, monkeypox can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, such as rodents or monkeys, or through contact with contaminated objects, such as bedding or clothing. The virus can also be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets, such as those produced by coughing or sneezing.

Monkeypox Transmission Before Symptoms

Now, let's address the central question of this article: can monkeypox spread before symptoms appear? While there have been some case reports of possible pre-symptomatic transmission, the evidence suggests that this is relatively rare. According to a comprehensive guide to monkeypox by the Monkeypox Tracker blog, most cases of monkeypox are believed to occur through close contact with symptomatic individuals.

A study published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2021 found that pre-symptomatic transmission of monkeypox was possible, but was estimated to account for less than 10% of all infections. The study also found that individuals who were infected before symptom onset were less likely to transmit the virus to others than those who were symptomatic.

Prevention and Control

While the risk of pre-symptomatic transmission appears to be relatively low, it's still important to take steps to prevent and control the spread of monkeypox. The Monkeypox Tracker's FAQ page offers a number of tips for preventing monkeypox transmission, including:

  • Avoiding contact with infected animals or their products.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, when caring for infected individuals.
  • Isolating infected individuals to prevent further spread of the virus.


In conclusion, while there have been some cases of pre-symptomatic transmission of monkeypox, the evidence suggests that this is relatively rare. The virus is primarily transmitted through close contact with symptomatic individuals or through contact with contaminated objects. To prevent the spread of monkeypox, it's important to follow the recommended prevention and control measures, including avoiding contact with infected animals and practicing good hand hygiene. For more information on monkeypox, including the latest statistics on cases and deaths, visit the Monkeypox Tracker's website and follow them on Twitter.