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Viral disease of both animals and humans that causes symptoms similar to those of smallpox, though less severe. The monkeypox virus is usually found in primates and rodents in Central and West Africa but has spread to other parts of the world through the export of infected small mammals. It can be transmitted to humans through an animal bite and from person to person through prolonged close contact. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, general malaise and fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. A rash of raised bumps appears on the infected person's face and body. Treatment is limited to alleviating symptoms. Outbreaks are contained by isolating patients and controlling the trade of animals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on monkeypox, visit Britannica.com.