Mokeypox viral disease| causes | transmission | treatment

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that occurs mainly in the rain forest countries of central and West Africa. The disease was first discovered in laboratory monkeys in 1958. Blood tests of animals in Africa later found evidence of monkeypox infection in a number of African rodents. The virus that causes monkeypox was recovered from an African squirrel. Laboratory studies showed that the virus also could infect mice, rats, and rabbits. In 1970, monkeypox was reported in humans for the first time. In June 2003, monkeypox was reported in prairie dogs and humans in the United States.
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease

What is the cause of monkeypox?

Monkeypox is caused by Monkeypox virus, which belongs to the orthopoxvirus group of viruses. Other orthopoxviruses that cause infections in humans include variola (smallpox), vaccinia (used for smallpox vaccine), and cowpox viruses.

Disease Agent Characteristics:

• Family: Poxviridae; Subfamily: Chordopoxvirinae; Genus: Orthopoxvirus
• Virion morphology and size: Enveloped, slightly pleomorphic; dumbbell-shaped core with lateral bodies; 140-260 nm in diameter by 220-450 nm in length
• Nucleic acid: linear, double-stranded DNA virus; genome length: ~197 kb in length bp
• Physicochemical properties: Resistant to common phenolic disinfectants; inactivated with polar lipophilic solvents, such as chloroform, and at low pH.

Complete inactivation of the closely related vaccinia virus occurs in 2-3 hours at 60°C or within minutes following exposure to 20 nM caprylate at 22°C; however, MPV is more resistant than vaccinia to solvent-detergent treatment.


Monkeypox does not spread easily between people.
Spread of monkeypox may occur when a person comes into close contact with an infected animal (rodents are believed to be the primary animal reservoir for transmission to humans), an infected human, or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if breaks are not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Person-to-person spread is very uncommon, but may occur through:
• contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) used by an infected person
• Direct contact with monkeypox skin lesions or scabs
• close exposure to the coughs or sneezes of an individual with a monkeypox rash

Risk Factors

Risk for travelers going to affected areas includes:
Living, working, or participating in recreational activities in proximity to infected persons or animals
Living in forested areas
Handling rodents (dead or alive) or having contact with rodent droppings in accommodations in affected areas
Handling or consuming bush meat
Sleeping on the floor in affected areas

Other risk factors include lack of smallpox vaccination, proximity to infected persons (including sleeping in the same room/bed), and contact with infected bodily fluids.


Not all persons infected with monkeypox virus have symptoms; however, in most cases, symptoms most commonly appear 6 to 16 days (range: 5-21 days) following exposure and include fever, chills, extreme tiredness, headache, and muscle aches. A few days after the fever appears, a blistering rash (lesions numbering from a few to several thousand) often begins on the face (most affected) and spreads to other parts of the body (especially the palms, soles, and mouth) and may last for about 2 to 4 weeks. Rashes may also appear on the genitals and inside the eyelids. Although symptoms of monkeypox may be similar to that of smallpox, monkeypox infection usually causes milder disease.

How does monkeypox affect my animal?

In non-human primates, monkeypox is usually a rash that lasts for 4 to 6 weeks; these sores or “pocks” can be seen over the entire body but are most common on the face, limbs, palms, soles, and tails. Death is rare but can be seen in infant monkeys. Some monkeys can be infected with the virus but show no signs of illness.

In rabbits and rodents, including prairie dogs, the initial signs include fever, reddened eyes, runny nose, cough, swollen glands, depression, and loss of appetite. Later, a rash with small swellings, containing pus (“pocks”), and patchy hair loss can develop. In some animals, pneumonia or death can occur.
How can I protect my animal from monkeypox?
Vaccination with vaccinia virus (used in smallpox vaccination) can protect non-human primates from monkeypox. For all other animals, the best method of prevention is to avoid exposure to animals or people infected with monkeypox. Do not keep wild animals as pets, particularly prairie dogs and wild mice or rats.

How can I protect myself from monkeypox?

Avoid exposure to animals or people infected with the monkeypox virus. Although the smallpox vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of monkeypox, it is only recommended for persons involved with monkeypox outbreak investigations or those who have close contact with or care for people or animals infected with the virus. Vaccination can be given up to 14 days after exposure.

Consequences of Infection

Complications can include bacterial infections, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, and inability to eat due to painful lesions in the mouth, dehydration (from vomiting and diarrhea), eye involvement, and brain inflammation and enlarged lymph nodes. Death occurs in about 10% of symptomatic cases in Africa (mostly among young children).

Is there a treatment or vaccine for monkeypox?

Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. Smallpox vaccine has been reported to reduce the risk of monkeypox among previously vaccinated persons in Africa. CDC is recommending that persons investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect against monkeypox. Persons who have had close or intimate contact with individuals or animals confirmed to have monkeypox should also be vaccinated.

These persons can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure. CDC is not recommending pre-exposure vaccination for unexposed veterinarians, veterinary staff, or animal control officers, unless such persons are involved in field investigations.


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