What is Monkeypox

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Monkeypox is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of orthopoxviruses that also cause smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. In fact, the type of monkeypox currently found in the United States has a 99% survivability. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

While monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 among colonies of monkeys kept for research, the first human case of monkeypox was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. The first case of monkeypox in the United States was reported in 2003.

The current outbreak has spread from human-to-human contact, mostly intimate or sexual contact. Household contacts are also at risk unless precautions are taken. More than 90% of the people with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness; people across various ages, genders, races/ethnicities, and sexual orientations have tested positive for monkeypox.

While much information is already known about Monkeypox, research is ongoing to investigate this outbreak.


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