A viral disease similar to smallpox. Smallpox no longer occurs following its worldwide eradication in 1980, whereas monkeypox is still seen as a sporadic disease in parts of Africa. The virus responsible for monkeypox is related to the smallpox virus. Vaccination against smallpox (which is no longer necessary) used to give protection against monkeypox. Before the eradication of smallpox, vaccination was widely practiced and protected against both diseases. However, children born after 1980 have not been vaccinated against smallpox and are more susceptible to monkeypox than older members of the population. The death rate from monkeypox is highest in young children, reaching about 10 percent. Most cases of monkeypox occur in remote villages of Central and West Africa close to tropical rainforests where there is frequent contact with infected animals. Monkeypox is usually transmitted to humans from squirrels and primates through contact with the animal's blood or through a bite.
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A disease of monkeys and, rarely, of humans caused by the m. virus, a member of the family Poxviridae; the human disease is serious and clinically resembles smallpox.

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mon·key·pox 'məŋ-kē-.päks n a rare virus disease esp. of rain forest areas of central and western Africa that is caused by a poxvirus of the genus Orthopoxvirus (species Monkeypox virus), that occurs in wild rodents and primates and in captive monkeys, and that when transmitted to humans resembles smallpox but is milder

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mon·key·pox (mungґke-poks) a mild, epidemic, exanthematous disease occurring in captive monkeys and other mammals; it can be transmitted to humans, in whom it causes a disease clinically similar to smallpox.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • monkeypox — /ˈmʌŋkipɒks/ (say mungkeepoks) noun a rare viral disease with symptoms similar to those of a mild form of smallpox, occurring mostly in central and western Africa in animals such as monkeys, squirrels, rats, and mice; reported in humans for the… …   Australian English dictionary

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  • monkeypox virus — a virus of the genus Orthopoxvirus that produces a mild, epidemic, exanthematous disease in monkeys and a smallpox like disease in humans …   Medical dictionary

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