Monkeypox Likely Circulated for Years Before Outbreak, Scientists Say

For more than half a century, monkeypox was a rare infectious disease confined to one region of the world. A few months ago, that suddenly changed. Scientists are building a picture of what happened.

The explosion of monkeypox around the world is a case study in how infectious diseases can leap from limited circulation to wide geographic spread with just a few chance events. Infectious-disease experts knew that the virus was on the rise in parts of West and Central Africa. All it took for monkeypox to take off around the world was for the virus to get into a group that would give it more opportunities for transmission.

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