At least six chimpanzees in an enclosed sanctuary have reportedly tested positive for monkeypox, according to a recent update with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).  Of the six affected chimps, one has died. There are no human cases associated with the outbreak.

Public domain image/Rosendahl
Public domain image/Rosendahl

According to information from Dr. Gaston Djonwe, Directeur des Services Vétérinaires, Services Vétérinaires, Ministère de l’Elevage, des Pêches & des Industries Animales, Yaoundé, Cameroon, the group of six (6) adult chimpanzees were in a three-hectare enclosure. The Sanctuary has a population of 72 animals distributed over a 90-hectare area divided in several fenced enclosures.

Clinical signs were lack of appetite and gradual appearance of vesicles and nodules on the forelimbs and on the face. There is no recent introduction of animals in the sanctuary. Quarantine has been applied (sick animals are kept in the enclosure) and biosecurity measures are strengthened for personnel working in this enclosure.

Monkeypox has been confirmed by Global Viral-PREDICT, Cameroon using real-time PCR. Gene sequencing is pending.

Monkeypox is a relatively rare virus found primarily in central and western Africa. The disease is caused by Monkeypox virus. It is closely related to the smallpox virus (variola), the virus used in the smallpox vaccine (vaccinia), and the cowpox virus.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Monkeypox is a  zoonotic disease characterized by a maculopapular rash and variolous pustules. Affected monkeys usually survive; after recovery, they are immune to challenge.

In humans, infection with monkeypox is not as serious as its cousin, smallpox; however, human deaths have been attributed to monkeypox.

According to the CDC, the symptoms of monkeypox are as follows: About 12 days after people are infected with the virus, they will get a fever, headache, muscle aches, and backache; their lymph nodes will swell; and they will feel tired. One to 3 days (or longer) after the fever starts, they will get a rash. This rash develops into raised bumps filled with fluid and often starts on the face and spreads, but it can start on other parts of the body too. The bumps go through several stages before they get crusty, scab over, and fall off. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

People at risk for monkeypox are those who get bitten by an infected animal or if you have contact with the animal’s rash, blood or body fluids. It can also be transmitted person to person through respiratory or direct contact and contact with contaminated bedding or clothing.

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page