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Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same virus genus (subgrouping) as variola virus (smallpox), vaccinia virus (smallpox vaccine virus) and cowpox.  Human cases of monkeypox are not common, occurring mainly in Africa, although infections occurred in the United States (47 cases) in 2003 and in the United Kingdom (3 cases) in 2018.  African rodents are suspected to play a role in transmission and were the source of infection for prairie dogs that ultimately transmitted the monkeypox to humans during the U.S. outbreak in 2003.

Although monkeypox is not listed separately on the list of reportable diseases, it falls under the category of an Unusual Disease for immediate reporting (even if just suspected) and also would be immediately reportable as a rule out smallpox rash presentation.  To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180.  

Healthcare Professionals


For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website

Last reviewed December 11, 2018