Mpox is a disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. The mpox virus is part of the same family of orthopoxviruses that also cause smallpox. mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. In fact, the type of mpox currently found in the United States has a 99% survivability. mpox is not related to chickenpox.
While mpox was first discovered in 1958 among colonies of monkeys kept for research, the first human case of mpox was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. The first case of mpox 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 mpox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have mpox. 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 mpox can get the illness; people across various ages, genders, races/ethnicities, and sexual orientations have tested positive for mpox.
While much information is already known about mpox, research is ongoing to investigate this outbreak.