Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease that can infect nonhuman primates, rodents and some other mammals. Monkeypox results from infection by the monkeypox virus, a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. Two clades of monkeypox viruses, the West African and Congo Basin viruses have been identified. The Congo Basin viruses are more virulent.
Human monkeypox is a zoonotic smallpox-like disease caused by an orthopoxvirus of interhuman transmissibility too low to sustain spread in susceptible populations. 88 cases of febrile pustular rash were identified for the previous 12 months in 12 villages of the Katako-Kombe Health Zone, Democratic Republic of Congo. Seven were active cases confirmed by virus isolation. Orthopoxvirus-neutralizing antibodies were detected in 54% of 72 patients who provided serum and 25% of 59 wild-caught animals, mainly squirrels.
Treatment of monkeypox is mainly supportive. The antiretroviral drug cidofovir has been promising in vitro and in animal studies, but its efficacy against monkeypox in humans is unknown. The majority of cases have been reported in rural regions of the Congo Basin and western Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Monkeypox cases were confirmed in the Midwest of the United States of America, marking the first reported occurrence of the disease outside of the African continent.