Infectious Disease Compendium

Monkey Pox


A pox virus. (Review 2013)

Epidemiologic Risks

Travel to or exposure to rodents and monkeys from West Africa. The reservoir remains unknown.

Animal smuggling is hugely profitable (10 billion a year profitable) (Wikipedia) and people like odd pets. I think it is people with no personality who get a weird pet as a substitue. But with odd pets come odd infections and there was an outbreak of 71 cases of monkeypox traced to Gambian rats imported by a Texas exotic animal distributor. Exotic animals are different, I hope, from exotic dancers. I'll ask Trump; he would know.


Fever, headache followed by the pox and adenopathy (PubMed). It is a mild smallpox.

Lesions progress through 5 stages before falling off: Macules then Papules then Vesicles then Pustules then Scabs The illness usually lasts for 2−4 weeks.


Self limited. Cidofovir may be effective. If you suspect monkeypox the CDC will likely be involved.


Person to person spread rare, but can be mistaken for smallpox.

As herd immunity to smallpox wanes since we no longer vaccinate, cases of monkey pox are increasing.

There are a variety of poxviruses besides monkeypox that can infect humans. I read in Science that there are 1.6 million undiscovered viruses in animals and about 600,000 are likely transmissible to humans. As an example there was a novel pox virus in an Alaskan (PubMed). Well since only one person was infected maybe it should be a short story pox virus.

Last update: 05/05/18