Monkeypox virus causes the disease monkeypox. Although the disease symptoms appear very similar to smallpox, the causative viruses are different. The virus is mainly found in tropical regions and central/west Africa.
The virus was first discovered in monkey (hence the name) although it was not until 1970 that the virus was found in humans. Between 1970 and 1986, over 400 cases were reported. In 2003, people in the USA were found to be infected and has been spread to several states. However, there have been no deaths from this virus in the USA at present.
The virus can spread both from animal to human and human to human. Infection from animal to human can be from an animal bite or direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. The virus can spread from person to person through both their breath and through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Animal to human transmission is more common. The virus then incubates in the host for 10-14 days. Symptoms then start to show including swelling of lymph nodes, muscle pain, headache and fever. Sometimes a rash appears.
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