Risk of Monkeypox virus (MPXV) transmission through the handling and consumption of food - Anses - Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail Access content directly
Journal Articles Microbial Risk Analysis Year : 2022

Risk of Monkeypox virus (MPXV) transmission through the handling and consumption of food

Pauline Kooh


Monkeypox (MPX) is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by Monkeypox virus (MPXV), an enveloped DNA virus belonging to the Poxviridae family and the Orthopoxvirus genus. Since early May 2022, a growing number of human cases of Monkeypox have been reported in non-endemic countries, with no history of contact with animals imported from endemic and enzootic areas, or travel to an area where the virus usually circulated before May 2022. This qualitative risk assessment aimed to investigate the probability that MPXV transmission occurs through food during its handling and consumption. The risk assessment used “top-down” (based on epidemiological data) and “bottom-up” (following the agent through the food chain to assess the risk of foodborne transmission to human) approaches, which were combined. The “top-down” approach first concluded that bushmeat was the only food suspected as a source of contamination in recorded cases of MPXV, by contact or ingestion. The “bottom-up” approach then evaluated the chain of events required for a human to become ill after handling or consuming food. This approach involves several conditions: (i) the food must be contaminated with MPXV (naturally, by an infected handler or after contact with a contaminated surface); (ii) the food must contain viable virus when it reaches the handler or consumer; (iii) the person must be exposed to the virus and; (iv) the person must be infected after exposure. Throughout the risk assessment, some data gaps were identified and highlighted. The conclusions of the top-down and bottom-up approaches are consistent and suggest that the risk of transmission of MPXV through food is hypothetical and that such an occurrence was never reported. In case of contamination, cooking (e.g., 12 min at 70°C) could be considered effective in inactivating Poxviridae in foods. Recommendations for risk management are proposed. To our knowledge, this is the first risk assessment performed on foodborne transmission of MPXV.

Dates and versions

anses-03898801 , version 1 (14-12-2022)



Estelle Chaix, Mickaël Boni, Laurent Guillier, Stéphane Bertagnoli, Alexandra Mailles, et al.. Risk of Monkeypox virus (MPXV) transmission through the handling and consumption of food. Microbial Risk Analysis, 2022, 22, pp.100237. ⟨10.1016/j.mran.2022.100237⟩. ⟨anses-03898801⟩
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