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Biopreparedness in Nebraska


Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is a rare disease caused by the mpox virus that was first discovered in humans in 1970. Prior to 2022, most cases of mpox appeared in central and western African countries with occasional cases outside of the region occurring due to international travel from the area.

On May 6, 2022, a case of mpox was confirmed in London, England, in a patient who had recently traveled to Nigeria. Additional cases appeared shortly after with no history of international travel, a first for mpox spread outside of central and western Africa. Since May 17, 2022, cases have been reported in increasing numbers across multiple countries and regions, mainly in Europe and the Americas, with the first case in the U.S. documented in Boston, Massachusetts. On July 23, 2022, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).


Mpox Virus

Courtesy of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) Protein Data Bank (PDB)-101 “Poxvirus” flyer

Mpox Virus

The mpox virus is in the same family as the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Like smallpox, mpox causes flu-like symptoms along with the outbreak of a rash with sores that blister. The incubation period is 3-17 days and is spreadable from the onset of symptoms until the rash has fully healed. New data in February 2023 has shown that some people can spread mpox a few days prior to the onset of symptoms.



Nebraska Public Health Laboratory Logo

Courtesy of the UNMC Department of Strategic Communications

Mpox in Nebraska

As of August 2022, mpox has spread to all 50 states in the U.S. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 18 cases in the state on August 18, 2022, all verified through testing at the Nebraska Public Health Lab. Members of the NBU activated into the community to provide education and support for health care providers caring for mpox patients.




Courtesy of the Nebraska Medicine Marketing and Communications

Continued Response to Mpox

UNMC and Nebraska Medicine continue to be a source of information and support in the response to mpox. The Global Center for Health Security provides extensive resources on mpox including identification, specimen collection, treatments, infection prevention, and waste management. Nebraska Medicine’s Infection Control Assessment and Promotion Program also provides additional information for health care providers. The Nebraska Public Health Lab continues to be the main source for testing in the state.