Send to

Choose Destination
Bull World Health Organ. 1988;66(6):747-52.

Monkeypox virus: ecology and public health significance.


Recent investigations have revealed that monkeypox virus infections occur with a high prevalence in several species of squirrels belonging to the genus Funisciurus, less frequently in squirrels of the genus Heliosciurus, and rarely in forest-dwelling primates. These squirrels commonly inhabit the secondary forests around human settlements in the rural areas of Zaire, especially where oil palms are grown, and are rare in the primary rain forest.Human infection with monkeypox virus occurs most frequently in the 5-9-year-old age group, particularly in small villages where the children hunt and eat squirrels and other small mammals. As the populations are now increasing in number and can no longer feed on wild life alone for their animal protein requirements, the development of animal husbandry as a source of meat will certainly decrease the risk and the incidence of human monkeypox, even in areas where monkeypox virus is present in the local population of squirrels.Although population growth and economic development in western and central Africa will probably reduce the risk of human infection with monkeypox virus, visitors to these areas who are likely to come into contact with wild animals should be offered smallpox vaccination as a protection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center