Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) may harbor the virus and infect people.
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, nearly all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals.
Current totals for GA Monkeypox Outbreak Cases and Vaccinations can be found at dph.georgia.gov/monkeypox.
Guidance for persons who are sick and have been told they have monkeypox or are suspected of having monkeypox can be found at dph.georgia.gov/monkeypox.
CDC resources for prevention of monkeypox:
- Prevention steps: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention.html
- Sexual Health information: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/sexualhealth/index.html
Other CDC resources
- 2022 Outbreak Situational Summary: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html
- US Cases in the 2022 outbreak, including GA cases: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html
- For more information on transmission, prevention, FAQs for clinicians, infection prevention, and other up-to-date information, please see the tabs on the CDC Monkeypox page: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/about.html