Monkeypox is a type of viral infection typically found in west and central Africa, near tropical rainforests. It is a zoonotic infection, meaning that it an spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person.
It was first discovered in monkeys in a Danish research laboratory in 1958, hence the name “monkeypox”. The first human case recorded was in a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
Monkeypox is similar to smallpox but less severe and less infectious. There are two forms of the virus - a milder west African strain, and a more severe central African strain. The current international outbreak appears to involve the west African strain, according to health experts.