Monkeypox: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Monkeypox is a viral disease that has been identified in several African countries.

Monkeypox: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
Photo by Obi - @pixel7propix / Unsplash

Monkeypox is a viral disease that has been identified in several African countries, as well as in the United States and other parts of the world. In this article, we'll discuss how a person can get infected with monkeypox and what steps can be taken to prevent it.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the Monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus family, which also includes the variola virus that causes smallpox. The virus was first discovered in monkeys in the 1950s in Africa, and the first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How Does Monkeypox Spread?

Monkeypox can be spread from animal to human or from human to human. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected animals or their body fluids, such as blood, saliva, or feces. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets, which are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

People who have close contact with infected animals, such as hunters or trappers, are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. In the United States, most cases of monkeypox have been linked to contact with pet prairie dogs that were infected with the virus.

What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox but are usually less severe. The first symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. A rash then develops, usually beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash progresses to papules, vesicles, and pustules, which may crust over and fall off within two to four weeks.

How is Monkeypox Diagnosed and Treated?

Monkeypox is diagnosed through laboratory tests, which can detect the virus in blood, skin lesions, or other body fluids. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but supportive care can help relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Antiviral drugs may also be used to treat severe cases of the disease.

How Can Monkeypox be Prevented?

The best way to prevent monkeypox is to avoid contact with infected animals or their body fluids. People who work with animals or who live in areas where monkeypox is endemic should take precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and gloves, washing hands frequently, and avoiding contact with sick animals.

In the United States, a vaccine is available for people who are at risk of exposure to the virus, such as laboratory workers or military personnel. The vaccine has also been used to control outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa.


Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans or from person to person. Understanding how the virus is transmitted and taking appropriate precautions can help prevent the spread of the disease. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have monkeypox, seek medical attention immediately.

For more information about monkeypox, visit our blog Monkeypox Tracker or check out our FAQ page. You can also stay up to date on the latest monkeypox cases and research by following us on Twitter or visiting our Monkeypox Tracker to view Monkeypox Cases and Deaths by Country or Monkeypox Cases and Deaths by US State.