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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 28, 10 July 2003

Citation style for this article: Human monkeypox in the US: investigations confirm that multiple animal species are susceptible to infection. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(28):pii=2255. Available online:

Human monkeypox in the US: investigations confirm that multiple animal species are susceptible to infection

Editorial team (, Eurosurveillance editorial office.

Traceback investigations in the human monkeypox outbreak in the United States have implicated a shipment of animals from Ghana, imported to Texas on 9 April, as the probable source of introduction of monkeypox virus into the US (1). The shipment contained approximately 800 small mammals of nine different species, including six genera of African rodents. Gambian rats from this shipment were kept in close proximity to prairie dogs at an Illinois animal vendor implicated in the sale of infected prairie dogs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has confirmed the presence of monkeypox virus in one Gambian giant rat, three dormice, and two rope squirrels that were part of the 9 April shipment (2). Evaluation of other animals associated with the shipment is ongoing. Evidence of infection was found in some animals that had been separated from the rest of the shipment on the day of their arrival into the US, indicating early and possibly widespread infection among the remaining animals in the shipment. The laboratory investigation confirmed that multiple animal species are susceptible to infection with monkeypox virus (1).

Twenty eight residents of six states have received smallpox vaccine since 13 June, to prevent further spread of monkeypox (1). Up to date information on the outbreak is available at

References :
  1. CDC. Update: Multistate outbreak of monkeypox - Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, 2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2003; 52(Dispatch); 1-3. (
  2. Eurosurveillance Weekly. Source of US monkeypox outbreak of identified, and CDC issues updated interim guidance for prevention and treatment of monkeypox. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2003; 7: 030703. (

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