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    Infectious Disease Control Unit
    Mail Code: 1960
    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, Suite T801
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: (512) 776-7676
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Monkeypox

Monkeypox Monkeypox
ICD-9 051; ICD-10 B04

In early June 2003 monkeypox infection outside of a laboratory situation occurred for the first time in the western hemisphere. Human monkeypox is a rare zoonotic viral disease that is found primarily in the rain forest countries of central and western Africa. Symptoms of monkeypox infection in humans are similar to those of smallpox, but the monkeypox virus is much less severe.

Human monkeypox infection in the United States happened as a result of contact with animals that were sick with the virus, primarily prairie dogs that were shipped from Texas to Illinois. Information from an ongoing multi-state investigation suggests that the prairie dogs acquired the virus in Illinois after coming in contact with Gambian giant rats from Africa. The prairie dogs transmitted the virus to humans when they handled or provided medical care for the infected animals. Human cases of monkeypox virus have been confirmed in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Monkeypox has not been diagnosed in either people or animals in Texas.  

NOTICE** On June 11 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint order immediately banning the importation of rodents from Africa into the United States. Please note that the order also announces that prairie dogs and certain types of rodents cannot be

  • transported between states,
  • sold either between states or within a state,
  • or let loose in the wild.
Further information on infection control, exposure management, guidance for veterinarians and pet owners, or to see the entire text of the embargo for prairie dogs and rodents.
Last updated April 18, 2019