Mpox in animals
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    • Alternative Title:
      Monkeypox in animals
    • Description:
      Updated January 4, 2023

      Mpox is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread between animals and people. While the animal reservoir is unknown, small mammals (e.g. rope and sun squirrels, giant-pouched rats, African dormice) are thought to maintain the virus in the environments of West and Central Africa. People can get infected with the virus through direct contact with infected animals, often while hunting, trapping, and processing infected animals or the infected body parts and fluids of animals. Small mammals can carry the virus, sometimes without apparent symptoms, while non-human primates can get sick with mpox and have signs of disease like humans. In 2003, an outbreak of mpox in domesticated prairie dogs occurred after they shared bedding and caging with a shipment of infected small mammals from West Africa. This led to 47 human cases in 6 states in the United States. Instances of animal-to-animal and animal-to-person spread, such as the 2003 outbreak, demonstrate the need to reduce the risk of secondary infections to and from animals by isolating infected people as well as exposed and infected animals.

      CDC is updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.

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