Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox but causes milder symptoms. Most patients only experience fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.
European and American health authorities have identified a number of cases monkeypox in recent days, mostly in young men. It’s a surprising outbreak of disease that rarely appears outside Africa, AP reports.
Health officials around the world are keeping watch for more cases because, for the first time, the disease appears to be spreading among people who didn’t travel to Africa. They stress, however, that the risk to the general population is low.
Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. Most human cases have been in central and west Africa, where the disease is endemic.
The illness was first identified by scientists in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of a “pox-like” disease in research monkeys — thus the name monkeypox. The first known human infection was in 1970, in a 9-year-old boy in a remote part of Congo.
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