Monkeypox was first diagnosed in monkeys in 1958, hence the name. The virus is a zoonosis, which means it can pass from animals to humans. Monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Contrary to what the name suggests, the virus is mainly transmitted by rodents.
The virus can enter through the mucous membranes in the mouth, nose or eyes and through open wounds, RIVM writes. The virus can also spread through droplets from vesicles or from the oral cavity, but not through airborne droplets.
The disease often starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and fatigue. After 1 to 3 days, a rash follows, which usually starts on the face and then appears all over the body. This rash starts with spots that turn into blisters. After the blisters have dried up, scabs remain that eventually fall off the skin after 2 to 3 weeks.