Monkeypox in animals : the basics for people who have contact with animals
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Monkeypox in animals : the basics for people who have contact with animals

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      In early June 2003, a rare disease called monkeypox was reported among several people for the first time in the United States. Monkeypox normally occurs among animals and people in central and western Africa. In people, the illness causes a rash like smallpox.

      Most people who got monkeypox as part of this outbreak became sick after touching or handling sick pet prairie dogs. Those prairie dogs were infected by other animals that were sent from Africa to the United States on April 9 to be sold as pets. The infected animals included Gambian giant pouched rats, rope squirrels, dormice, and other small mammals. You can see photos of these animals at Most people who got monkeypox in the United States did not get very sick, but the disease can be deadly. This outbreak is a threat to the public's health.

      This fact sheet has important information and instructions about monkeypox for people who have contact with animals. This includes pet shop owners and workers, animal handlers, animal control officers, animal rescuers, and pet owners.

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