Monkeypox: What have we learned from recent socio-behavioural surveys?

A Data Snapshot on Monkeypox Outbreak and Social Behaviours – October 2022


An ongoing outbreak of monkeypox was confirmed on 6 May 2022, beginning with a British resident who, after travelling to Nigeria (where the disease is endemic), presented symptoms consistent with monkeypox on 29 April 2022. The resident returned to the United Kingdom on 4 May, creating the country’s index case of the outbreak.

The epidemic has since spread and as of 19 of October 2022, there are 109 affected countries according to WHO.

Socio-Behavioural Surveys

In the past five months since the beginning of the epidemic, a number of reports surveying population behaviour changes have been published. As of mid October 2022, we have identified 21 – published mainly in August and September 2022.

Indicator Coverage

The four most frequently available indicators are: 1) risk perception, 2) vaccine willingness, 3) knowledge of transmission routes and symptoms, and 4) adoption of preventative measures.

Vaccine Willingness

Available surveys seem to show a higher willingness among currently exposed populations (LGBTQ+ community, men who have sex with men or MSM, healthcare workers).

Risk Perception

Similarly, the perception of risk (how likely respondents think they are to catch the disease) is higher among currently exposed populations – with the noticeable exception of MSM living with HIV which display a risk perception closer to that of the overall population. The latter finding is potentially a result of a population group already focused on preventative measures.


When collecting information about knowledge of this disease, we concentrate on the main symptoms (e.g. rash, fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes) and transmission routes (e.g. direct/indirect contact, sexual intercourse).  These questions, however, do not seem to be asked to currently exposed populations (to a smaller extent they have been asked of HCWs).

Preventative Measures Adoption

The most commonly available preventative measure is the reduction of the number of sexual partners.

Data sources

  • Epidemiological data: WHO
  • Socio-behavioural surveys: accessible by clicking on each data point on the above graphs


The researches for this socio-behavioural survey were run between October 14th and 21st, in English and French-languages and as open access publications for everyone, from around the world.

Search queries – such as “monkeypox social behaviour studies”, “monkeypox KAPs studies”, “monkeypox perception survey” with keywords such as “knowledge”, “vaccine”, “stigmatisation”, “sexual behaviours”, “men having sex with men”, “MSM ”, “LGBT” – were used to locate relevant studies.

Publication: 25th October 2022