What exactly is Monkeypox Virus?
So just what is monkeypox? It’s a variation of the variola virus, the same subset of viruses that cause smallpox, albeit much less severe. Symptoms are similar to smallpox but much milder as monkeypox is rarely fatal. The pathogen is a viral zoonosis, meaning a disease that originates in animals and is transmitted to human populations. It is most commonly found in regions of Africa, where urban areas lie in close proximity to tropical rainforests. Despite its name, the origin of the pathogen remains a mystery. It is believed that both rodents and primates play host to the virus. Even with most cases originating in Africa, it remains a global concern. The first case outside of Africa occurred in the United States in 2003 and was traced back to pet prairie dogs being housed with infected African rodents1. Most cases outside Africa are from just this, infected animals or pets exported elsewhere thus facilitating transmission. Since the first outbreak, more and more are being reported in non-endemic countries. If you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms the CDC recommends you avoid sharing things, touching others, and scratching your rash until you’ve met with a healthcare provider.