Monkeypox virus

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Monkeypox virus
Electron micrograph of "Monkeypox virus"
Electron micrograph of Monkeypox virus
Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Varidnaviria
Kingdom: Bamfordvirae
Phylum: Nucleocytoviricota
Class: Pokkesviricetes
Order: Chitovirales
Family: Poxviridae
Genus: Orthopoxvirus
Monkeypox virus

Monkeypox virus (MPV) is a double-stranded DNA, zoonotic virus and a species of the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. It is one of the human orthopoxviruses that includes variola (VARV), cowpox (CPX), and vaccinia (VACV) viruses. But it is not a direct ancestor to, nor a direct descendant of, the variola virus which causes smallpox. Monkeypox virus causes a disease that is similar to smallpox, but with a milder rash and lower death rate.[1][2][3] Variation in virulence of the virus has been observed in isolates from Central Africa where strains are more virulent than those from Western Africa.[1]


Monkeypox is carried by animals including primates. It was first identified by Preben von Magnus in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958 in crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) being used as laboratory animals.[4] The 2003 outbreak in the United States was traced to prairie dogs infected from an imported Gambian pouched rat.

Monkeypox virus causes the disease in both primates and animals. The virus is mainly found in tropical rainforest regions of central and West Africa.


The virus can spread both from animal to human and from human to human. Infection from animal to human can occur via an animal bite or by direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. The virus can spread from human to human by both droplet respiration and contact with fomites from an infected person's bodily fluids. Incubation period is 10–14 days. Prodromal symptoms include swelling of lymph nodes, muscle pain, headache, fever, prior to the emergence of the rash.[5]


The virus is mainly found in the tropical forests of Central Africa and West Africa. It was first discovered in monkeys in 1958, and in humans in 1970. Between 1970 and 1986, over 400 cases in humans were reported. Small viral outbreaks with a death rate in the range of 10% and a secondary human to human infection rate of about the same amount occur routinely in equatorial Central and West Africa.[6] The primary route of infection is thought to be contact with the infected animals or their bodily fluids.[6] The first reported outbreak in the United States occurred in 2003 in the midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, with one occurrence in New Jersey. No deaths occurred.

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  1. ^ a b Breman JG, Kalisa R, Steniowski MV, Zanotto E, Gromyko AI, Arita I (1980). "Human monkeypox, 1970-79". Bull World Health Organ. 58 (2): 165–182. PMC 2395797. PMID 6249508.
  2. ^ Alkhalil Abdulnaser; Hammamieh Rasha; Hardick Justin; Ichou Mohamed A; Jett Marti; Ibrahim Sofi (2010). "Gene expression profiling of monkeypox virus-infected cells reveals novel interfaces for host-virus interactions". Virology Journal. 7: 173. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-173. PMC 2920256. PMID 20667104.
  3. ^ Shchelkunov SN, Totmenin AV, Safronov PF, Mikheev MV, Gutorov VV, Ryazankina OI, Petrov NA, Babkin IV, Uvarova EA, Sandakhchiev LS, et al. (2002). "Analysis of the monkeypox virus genome". Virology. 297 (2): 172–194. doi:10.1006/viro.2002.1446. PMID 12083817.
  4. ^ Reed Business Information (30 November 1978). New Scientist. 80. Reed Business Information. pp. 682–. ISSN 0262-4079.
  5. ^ "CDC | Questions and Answers About Monkeypox". Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  6. ^ a b Meyer, H.; Mathilde Perrichot; Markus Stemmler; Petra Emmerich; Herbert Schmitz; Francis Varaine; Robert Shungu; Florimond Tshioko; Pierre Formenty (2002). "Outbreaks of Disease Suspected of Being Due to Human Monkeypox Virus Infection in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 40 (8): 2919–2921. doi:10.1128/JCM.40.8.2919-2921.2002. PMC 120683. PMID 12149352.

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