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Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Dec 15;41(12):1765-71. Epub 2005 Nov 11.

Reemergence of monkeypox: prevalence, diagnostics, and countermeasures.

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United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA.


Human monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs mostly in the rain forests of central and western Africa. However, the disease recently emerged in the United States in imported wild rodents from Africa. Monkeypox has a clinical presentation very similar to that of ordinary forms of smallpox, including flulike symptoms, fever, malaise, back pain, headache, and characteristic rash. Given this clinical spectrum, differential diagnosis to rule out smallpox is very important. There are no licensed therapies for human monkeypox; however, the smallpox vaccine can protect against the disease. The discontinuation of general vaccination in the 1980s has given rise to increasing susceptibility to monkeypox virus infection in the human population. This has led to fears that monkeypox virus could be used as a bioterrorism agent. Effective prevention relies on limiting the contact with infected patients or animals and limiting the respiratory exposure to infected patients.

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