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Monkeypox is a very rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is usually found in Central and West Africa and does not occur naturally in the United States. However, cases have recently been identified in the U.S. with more cases expected. This situation is being closely monitored by public health. There are no cases of monkeypox in Alabama at this time.

For current information on the most recent cases of monkeypox in the U.S., visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brief History of Monkeypox

"Monkeypox" was so named because it was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys. It is most often found in small mammals such as rodents, including rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and prairie dogs. The first outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. was reported in 2003 among people who became sick after coming in contact with infected pet prairie dogs. Historically, most cases of monkeypox usually occurred after a person came into contact with an infected wild animal or animal product.

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Page last updated: June 23, 2022