The World Health Organization on Saturday declared monkeypox a global emergency and outbreaks were reported in more than 70 countries. The emergency declaration mostly serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries since about May.

To date, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is spreading, mainly in Nigeria and Congo.

In Africa, monkeypox mainly spreads to people from infected wild animals like rodents, in limited outbreaks that typically have not crossed borders. In Europe, North America and elsewhere, however, it is spreading among people with no links to animals or recent travel to Africa.

Also Read: Second monkeypox case in India: All you need to know

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is a relative of smallpox, but less transmissible and less deadly. Caused by infection with monkeypox virus, the disease was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. 

The first human case was recorded 12 years later in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2003, the US experienced an outbreak of monkeypox with 47 people affected by it. 

Also Read: From a forest in Uganda to Kerala: The origin story of Zika virus


The incubation period is usually seven to 14 days but can take anywhere from five to 21 days.

Initial symptoms-


Muscle aches


Swollen lymph nodes 



CDC says that following the onset of fever, people develop a rash that usually starts on their face and then spreads to other body parts.

Also Read: Monkeypox in India: How Kerala is working to prevent infection spread


The disease is usually transmitted when an individual comes in contact with an animal or human with the virus. It enters the body through the respiratory tract, mucous membranes or small cuts in the body.