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Genomic Analysis of Monkeypox Virus During the 2023 Epidemic in Korea.

We aimed to characterize the genomes of monkeypox virus isolates from the Far East, providing insights into viral transmission and evolution. Genomic analysis was conducted on 8 isolates obtained from patients with monkeypox virus disease in the Republic of Korea between May 2022 and early 2023. These isolates were classified into Clade IIb. Distinct lineages, including B.1.1, A.2.1, and B.1.3, were observed in 2022 and 2023 isolates, with only the B.1.3 lineage detected in six isolates of 2023. These genetic features were specific to Far East isolates (the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Taiwan), distinguishing them from the diverse lineages found in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. In early 2023, the prevalence of the B.1.3 lineage of monkeypox virus identified in six patients with no overseas travel history is considered as an indicator of the potential initiation of local transmission in the Republic of Korea.

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