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Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that occurs mostly in central and western Africa. It is called "monkeypox" because it was first found in 1958 in laboratory monkeys. Rodents — including rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits and prairie dogs — can get monkeypox, too, and can transmit it to people. The first outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. was reported in 2003 among people who got sick after coming in contact with infected pet prairie dogs.

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