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Summary of monkeypox infection and some facts for veterinarians


M. A. R. Priyantha

Veterinary Research Institute, PO Box 28, Peradeniya, LK
About M. A. R.
Bacteriology Division
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Monkeypox is an emerging and neglected zoonotic disease. The importance of the disease has been highlighted in the recent past as there have been a significant number of cases reported in North America, South America, and Europe. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the family of Poxviridae. The virus was identified in 1958 in captive monkeys at a research institute in Denmark and human infection was first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1970. The first set of clinical cases of monkeypox outside the African continent was reported in the USA, UK, Israel, and Singapore. Two distinct clades of monkeypox virus have been identified and two models of transmission have been reported as animal to human and human to human transmission. The transmission occurs through direct contact, contaminated body fluids, and contaminated respiratory droplets. Generally, human gets the infection through direct contact with the infected animal or contaminated materials. Furthermore, human to human transmission of monkeypox has been reported through placental membranes, direct contact with skin, and through fomite. Nosocomial infection has also been reported in humans while speculatory evidence was found on sexual transmission in humans. The exact animal reservoirs of monkeypox have not been identified, non-human primates and rodents had been suggested for harbouring the virus in the environment as rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats and dormice. During the first five days, fever, lymphadenopathy, back pain, extreme headache, myalgia (muscle ache), and severe asthenia (energy shortage) are reported in the infected humans. The macular-papular lesions appear in the first 1 - 3 days of fever and develop into to fluidfilled blisters. The blisters rupture and crusts develop within 10 days. The nonsymptomatic disease has been reported with an unknown prevalence in humans. Smallpox vaccines were shown to have cross protection against monkeypox infection in humans. In addition, the same vaccine can be used prophylactically since the vaccine reduces the emergence of clinical signs of monkeypox infection in humans. Furthermore, immunoglobulin derived from the vaccinia virus is also used as postexposure therapy in an exposed population.
How to Cite: Priyantha, M.A.R., 2022. Summary of monkeypox infection and some facts for veterinarians. Sri Lanka Veterinary Journal, 69(1), pp.25–32. DOI:
Published on 30 Dec 2022.
Peer Reviewed


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