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BACKGROUND: Although mpox has been detected in paediatric populations in central and west Africa for decades, evidence synthesis on paediatric, maternal, and congenital mpox, and the use of vaccines and therapeutics in these groups, is lacking. A systematic review is therefore indicated to set the research agenda. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, searching articles in Embase, Global Health, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, SciELO, and WHO databases from inception to April 17, 2023. We included studies reporting primary data on at least one case of confirmed, suspected, or probable paediatric, maternal, or congenital mpox in humans or the use of third-generation smallpox or mpox vaccines, targeted antivirals, or immune therapies in at least one case in our population of interest. We included clinical trials and observational studies in humans and excluded reviews, commentaries, and grey literature. A pooled estimate of the paediatric case fatality ratio was obtained using random-effects meta-analysis. This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD420223336648). FINDINGS: Of the 61 studies, 53 reported paediatric outcomes (n=2123 cases), seven reported maternal or congenital outcomes (n=32 cases), two reported vaccine safety (n=28 recipients), and three reported transmission during breastfeeding (n=4 cases). While a subset of seven observational studies (21 children and 12 pregnant individuals) reported uneventful treatment with tecovirimat, there were no randomised trials reporting safety or efficacy for any therapeutic agent. Among children, the commonest clinical features included rash (86 [100%] of 86), fever (63 [73%] of 86), and lymphadenopathy (40 [47%] of 86). Among pregnant individuals, rash was reported in 23 (100%) of 23; fever and lymphadenopathy were less common (six [26%] and three [13%] of 23, respectively). Most paediatric complications (12 [60%] of 20) arose from secondary bacterial infections. The pooled paediatric case fatality ratio was 11% (95% CI 4-20), I2=75%. Data from 12 pregnancies showed half resulted in fetal death. Research on vaccine and immune globulin safety remains scarce for children and absent for pregnant individuals. INTERPRETATION: Our review highlights critical knowledge gaps in the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of mpox in children and pregnant individuals, especially those residing in endemic countries. Increased funding, international collaboration, and equitable research is needed to inform mpox control strategies tailored for at-risk communities in endemic countries. FUNDING: None. TRANSLATIONS: For the French, Spanish and Portuguese translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Glob Health

Publication Date





e572 - e588


Female, Pregnancy, Child, Humans, Mpox (monkeypox), Family, Exanthema, Lymphadenopathy, Vaccines