Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a rare zoonotic virus, similar to and in the same family as the variola virus, which causes smallpox.
Monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970, when an outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The primary source of the virus was likely Gambian giant rats, imported to the Congo region through the bushmeat trade. This was the first reported outbreak of the virus in the human population and is where monkeypox started.