Monkeypox Outbreak Alert

Background: Monkeypox is a viral disease similar to smallpox. The virus responsible for it is, in fact, closely related to the smallpox virus and vaccination against smallpox provides protection against monkeypox. Before the eradication of smallpox, vaccination was widely practiced and protected against both diseases. However, children born after 1980 have not been vaccinated against smallpox and are hence more susceptible to monkeypox than older members of the population. The death rate from monkeypox is highest in young children, reaching about 10 percent.

Most cases of monkeypox characteristically occur in remote villages of Central and West Africa close to tropical rainforests where there is frequent contact with infected animals. Monkeypox is usually transmitted to humans from rodents and primates (such as monkeys) through contact with the animal's blood or through a bite.

This Story: The following is a press release from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC).

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Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com