Health authorities in Europe, the U.S. and Australia are investigating a recent outbreak of monkeypox cases, a rare viral disease typically confined to Africa.
While some cases have been linked to travel from Africa, more recent infections are thought to have spread in the community, raising the risks of a wider outbreak.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and infection and the U.K.’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said they are investigating a range of cases including those among individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men, and urged gay and bisexual men in particular to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the same family as smallpox, though typically less severe.
Generally occurring in remote parts of central and West Africa, the virus was first detected in captive monkeys in 1958. The first human case was recorded in 1970.