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. As of early June 2022, over 1,000 cases worldwide have been confirmed.

Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus, which means it spreads from animals to humans. In addition to monkeys, it’s been found in other primates and certain rodents in Africa. But people can transmit it to each other, too. The first known human infection was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It typically takes between 1 and 2 weeks after exposure to get sick from the monkeypox virus, but it could take as long as 3 weeks. Symptoms include:

– Fever

– Tiredness

– Headache

– Aching muscles

– Chills

– Backache

– Sore throat

– Dry cough

– Swollen lymph nodes

– Trouble breathing (in serious cases)

You can spread monkeypox to others starting a day before the rash shows up. You’re contagious for up to 21 days after your first symptoms, or until your lesions have scabbed over and you don’t have any other symptoms.

The illness typically runs its course in 2 to 4 weeks. It can be quite serious, especially in children who were exposed to a lot of the virus or in people with other health conditions or weak immune systems. If you’ve been exposed to Monkeypox and haven’t had a smallpox vaccine in the last 3 years, experts recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible.