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Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus (germ) and is similar to cowpox, camelpox, and smallpox. It was first seen in laboratory monkeys. Monkeypox is a common animal disease of rodents, such as mice and squirrels, in the Central and West African rainforests. A shipment of infected rare pets, Gambian rats, caused a monkeypox outbreak in the United States in 2003. These rodents infected prairie dogs, which were sold as pets, and later on spread the infection to people. It is a public health problem because the infection spreads very fast.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Isolation safety measures

may be used if you have an infection that can be passed from person to person. Healthcare providers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown. Visitors should wash their hands before leaving to keep from spreading germs.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


You may have one or more of the following:

  • Anti-itching medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to help keep your skin from itching. This medicine may be given in an IV, as a shot, by mouth, or as a skin lotion. Sometimes this medicine can make you sleepy.
  • Antivirals help treat or prevent a viral infection.
  • Antipyretics: This medicine is given to decrease a fever.
  • Immune globulins: This medicine is given as a shot or an IV infusion to make your immune system stronger. You may need immune globulins to treat or prevent an infection. It is also used when you have a chronic condition, such as lupus or arthritis. You may need many weeks of treatment. Each infusion can take from 2 to 5 hours.
  • Smallpox Vaccine: People who have been vaccinated against smallpox are less likely to get monkeypox. This vaccine may be used to help your body fight a monkeypox infection. Ask your caregiver or the local health department for more information about vaccines for monkeypox.


You may need one or more of the following:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Electron microscopy: This uses a high powered microscope to look for the monkeypox virus. Caregivers may prick the blisters and collect the fluid unto a glass slide. Crust from sores may also be scraped off and placed on the glass slide. The glass slides are then sent to the lab for tests.
  • Skin biopsy: Caregivers may remove a small piece of tissue from the skin. The tissue will then be sent to the lab for tests. Before the tissue is removed, the skin will be cleaned, and medicine may be used to numb the area. After the biopsy, stitches may be needed to close the wound. A bandage may cover the biopsy area.
  • Throat swab culture: This is a test that may help caregivers look for the monkeypox virus that may be causing your illness. A throat culture is done by rubbing a cotton swab on the back of your throat. This is then sent to the lab for tests.


Monkeypox may infect a lot of people and animals very fast. The public health department needs to be informed of a monkeypox infection. Treatments may have unpleasant effects. Soreness of the injection site, fever, and feeling more tired and weak than usual may occur. This is usually seen after treatment with vaccines and immune globulins. Severe infection may cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and could be life-threatening. Ask your caregiver if you have questions about monkeypox and its treatment options.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.