2023 Outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is having its largest surge of mpox cases ever recorded. Since January 1, 2023, DRC has reported more than 20,000 suspect mpox cases and more than 1,000 deaths. Cases are concentrated largely in two provinces, but few have been confirmed by laboratory testing.

Risk to the United States

There have been no cases of the type of mpox spreading in DRC reported in the United States at this time. The risk to the general public in the United States from the type of mpox circulating in the DRC is very low.

CDC has made this assessment based on information about how mpox spreads, where it is spreading currently, how severe the disease is, and travel patterns from DRC and neighboring countries to the United States and globally. The risk might change as more information becomes available, or if cases appear outside DRC or other African countries where clade I exists naturally.

People in the United States who have already had mpox or are fully vaccinated should be protected against the type of mpox spreading in DRC. Casual contact, such as might occur during travel, is not likely to cause the disease to spread. The best protection against mpox is two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine.

Situation in DRC

The current outbreak is widespread in DRC, with cases reported in 25 of the DRC’s 26 provinces and in the capital city of Kinshasa and a few other large cities. Because mpox is commonly found in DRC, cases are often detected; however, DRC is detecting more cases than normal. Some of the infections have been tied to sexual contact, which marks the first reported instances of such transmission with this type of mpox.

CDC has been supporting DRC mpox research and response for more than 20 years.  Currently, CDC staff in DRC has been providing extra technical assistance to the DRC Ministry of Health and working with the World Health Organization (WHO) team on the ground in DRC. CDC has provided laboratory support and additional funds to help provide support for contact tracing and community outreach.