1 What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by the orthopoxvirus simiae (also monkeypox virus, MPXV) from the genus Orthopoxvirus. These viruses occur naturally in rodents. Monkeys are considered to be false hosts: the virus cannot develop further in them or reach a final host from there.
Humans can become infected with infected animals (zoonosis) if they come into contact with their pustules, bodily secretions or contaminated material: through bites, close contact, during hunting or when processing insufficiently heated meat.
Human-to-human transmission also occurs through body secretions, such as when touching skin lesions, blisters, pustules, skin crusts, typically during prolonged, close contact, such as during sexual intercourse.
Monkeypox virus is related to the classical human poxviruses (variola virus, smallpox) and the cowpox viruses, which are also known to be zoonotic.