I am wondering if the Monkeypox virus could be spread by mosquitoes since it is part of the Smallpox family.

While doing some online research on this possibility, I came across this abstract taken from an article titled 'Role of Mosquitoes in the Spread of Smallpox' in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 128, Issue 6, December 1973, Pages 781–783:

Smallpox is endemic in Calcutta, where Culex pipiens fatigans and Aedes aegypti abound. In a study of the role of these two species of mosquito in the spread of smallpox, laboratory-bred mosquitoes were allowed to feed on variola-infected, viremic infant mice. The engorged mosquitoes were tested daily for 15 days for viable variola virus. Virus could be recovered from C. pipiens fatigans for 72 hr and from A. aegypti for 96 hr. The separated proboscises of the latter mosquitoes were tested and were found to contain virus for the entire 96-hr period. It appears, therefore, that mechanical transmission of smallpox by these mosquitoes, especially A. aegypti, is possible.

Can the Monkeypox virus be spread by mosquitoes?

  • $\begingroup$ “Is possible”. But unlikely because smallpox has been eradicated whereas malaria hasn’t. At the start of the covid pandemic we had a question whether it could be spread by the plagues of locusts prevalent at the time. And some people worry about catching AIDS from public lavatory seats. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jun 12, 2022 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


As yet there are unlikely to have been any studies looking at this particular scenario with Monkeypox virus, as it hasn't been widely studied.

However, the poxviridae are all similar in that they are large, robust virions with the capability to persist in the environment for some time (for some species up to 6 mo in winter outside), meaning that they can survive conditions that would be unusual for many other viruses. So, it is likely that if smallpox was capable of being transmitted by mosquitoes, then the same is possible for monkeypox and potentially other pox viruses too.

Having said that, the places where smallpox was last found during the global eradication program, were largely places where mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases are common (India, Somalia, Bangladesh). Despite this, the eradication was successful using contact-tracing and ring-vaccination. If the virus was actually transmitted by mosquitoes, then these strategies would have been unsuccessful because the mosquitoes could have carried the virus to people who were not direct contacts. As this was not seen, I doubt that mosquitoes were a common vector for transmission of smallpox, if they were at all, and hence it is unlikely that mosquitoes will be a vector for transmission of monkeypox.


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