Can monkeypox spread through contaminated food?


The present study used top-down and bottom-up approaches to assess monkeypox transmission risk through contaminated food. The top-down approach examined evidence present in the literature on monkeypox transmission through food. Two systematic reviews and an additional literature search yielded 19 publications that investigated contaminated food as a possible transmission route for monkeypox.

The bottom-up assessment analyzed the steps required for one monkeypox case to occur from monkeypox virus-contaminated food. The probability of monkeypox being transmitted through food was dependent on a chain of events that began with the contaminated raw meat or raw food being contaminated by the handler. The food would have to contain viable monkeypox virus when it reached the consumer, who would then have to be exposed to the viable virus orally or through contact for a successful exposure. Furthermore, foodborne transmission can be confirmed only if the consumer is then infected and develops symptoms.

The results from the top-down assessment revealed no evidence of monkeypox transmission through the handling or consumption of food but did report the possibility of monkeypox contamination in meat from infected animals. However, the studies reviewed in the top-down approach did not support the possibility of monkeypox virus contamination in any food sources other than bushmeat.

Overall, the results reported no significant association between monkeypox virus transmission and the consumption of contaminated food. However, good hygiene practices, isolation measures, adequate cooking time, and effective heat treatments should be practiced in situations involving individuals with confirmed monkeypox.