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Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. It was first identified as a pox-like disease in monkeys kept for research, hence the name "monkeypox."
Known primarily for its characteristic rash with lesions that scab over, the monkeypox rash can occur on the palms and soles, or be generalized affecting other areas including perianal or genital areas. The incubation period (the time from infection with monkeypox to the time symptoms appear) is on average 7 to 14 days. Monkeypox is treatable; however, the disease is occasionally fatal.
Note that the rash associated with monkeypox can be confused with other rashes associated with sexually transmitted infections, such as still-common herpes and syphilis. However, it is also possible to be infected with both monkeypox and an STI.
People at higher risk for monkeypox infection include those who have recently travelled to a country where monkeypox has been identified, or having contact with other people who have a similar rash or have received a diagnosis of suspected or confirmed monkeypox. The current outbreak is primarily affecting men who report having had intimate contact with other men.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, and often skin-to-skin contact including:
Monkeypox symptoms can include:
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