Thanks to Kaitie Schneider, Program Coordinator, Rockies and Plains Program, Defenders of Wildlife who put together the following talking points regarding the Monkey Pox outbreak:
According to the CDC, in the summer of 2003, health officials and scientists investigated several reports of monkeypox among individuals who became ill after having contact with sick captive prairie dogs. Investigators determined that a shipment of animals from Ghana were imported to Texas in April 2003 and introduced monkeypox virus to captive prairie dogs in the United States. In total, 47 persons became ill with monkeypox during this time. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the orthopoxvirus group of viruses. The prairie dogs in the pet trade acquired the monkeypox virus following contact with these infected rodents that were imported as exotic pets. These prairie dogs were sold as pets before they developed signs of infection. This was the first time that human monkeypox cases were reported outside of Africa.
Read more at: Monkey Pox