What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by infection with monkeypox virus, a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. There are currently more than 80 poxviruses known to science and these poxviruses have been isolated from different species of birds, insects, reptiles, marsupials and mammals. Poxviruses that may cause human disease include the smallpox (or variola) virus and molluscum contagiosum virus. The former was eradicated by 1980 by mass-vaccination programs.
In addition human disease can be caused by infection with other poxviruses including monkeypox, orf, cowpox and Tanapoxviruses. These viruses are harbored by different animal species and may spillover to the human population (i.e. they are zoonotic viruses) when there is sufficient exposure. These viruses are not highly transmissible from person-to-person.