Monkeypox is a viral disease from the same family as smallpox, though its symptoms usually aren’t as serious.
Scientists have known about it since 1958, when it was found in lab monkeys used for research. Monkeypox is most common in Central and West Africa. But in May 2022, health officials began reporting an outbreak of the virus in several regions outside Africa.
How is Monkeypox Transmitted?
While monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox, it’s similarly spread from person to person through close contact. Someone who’s infected with it can pass it to you through:
- Respiratory droplets that you breathe in
- Contact with body fluids like blood or semen.
- Contact with monkeypox lesions on their skin (including inside their nose and mouth).
- Things that have touched infected body fluids, like bedding or clothing (This happens less often).
Infected animals can pass on the virus if they bite or scratch you. You can also get it from eating uncooked contaminated meat.
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