Monkeypox outbreak: Wastewater and environmental surveillance perspective

Document Type


Publication Date



Monkeypox disease (MPXD), a viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV), is an emerging zoonotic disease endemic in some countries of Central and Western Africa but seldom reported outside the affected region. Since May 2022, MPXD has been reported at least in 74 countries globally, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the MPXD outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As of July 24, 2022; 92 % (68/74) of the countries with reported MPXD cases had no historical MPXD case reports. From the One Health perspective, the spread of MPXV in the environment poses a risk not only to humans but also to small mammals and may, ultimately, spread to potent novel host populations. Wastewater-based surveillance (WBS) has been extensively utilized to monitor communicable diseases, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It helped in monitoring infectious disease caseloads as well as specific viral variants circulating in communities. The detection of MPXV DNA in lesion materials (e.g. skin, vesicle fluid, crusts), skin rashes, and various body fluids, including respiratory and nasal secretions, saliva, urine, feces, and semen of infected individuals, supports the possibility of using WBS as an early proxy for the detection of MPXV infections. WBS of MPXV DNA can be used to monitor MPXV activity/trends in sewerage network areas even before detecting laboratory-confirmed clinical cases within a community. However, several factors affect the detection of MPXV in wastewater including, but not limited to, routes and duration time of virus shedding by infected individuals, infection rates in the relevant affected population, environmental persistence, the processes and analytical sensitivity of the used methods. Further research is needed to identify the key factors that impact the detection of MPXV biomarkers in wastewater and improve the utility of WBS of MPXV as an early warning and monitoring tool for safeguarding human health. In this review, we shortly summarize aspects of the MPXV outbreak relevant to wastewater monitoring and discuss the challenges associated with WBS.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

The Science of the total environment

First Page


This document is currently not available here.