Volume 76, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


At the onset of the 2003 US monkeypox outbreak, virologic data were unavailable regarding which animal species were involved with virus importation and/or subsequent transmission to humans and whether there was a risk for establishment of zoonotic monkeypox in North America. Similarly, it was unclear which specimens would be best for virus testing. Monkeypox DNA was detected in at least 33 animals, and virus was cultured from 22. Virus-positive animals included three African species associated with the importation event (giant pouched rats, spp.; rope squirrels, sp.; and dormice, sp.). Virologic evidence from North American prairie dogs ( sp.) was concordant with their suspected roles as vectors for human monkeypox. Multiple tissues were found suitable for DNA detection and/or virus isolation. These data extend the potential host range for monkeypox virus infection and supports concern regarding the potential for establishment in novel reservoir species and ecosystems.


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  • Received : 15 Jun 2006
  • Accepted : 19 Dec 2006

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