The outbreak is centered on humans, not animals, health officials said, after a report that some monkeys were harmed in São Paulo, Brazil, out of fear of transmission, according to local authorities.
Monkeys are not to blame for the monkeypox outbreak that has triggered health alerts, including a national health emergency in the United States, as the viral disease has continued to spread, the World Health Organization said this week after reports of attacks against the animals in Brazil.
At least 10 monkeys were rescued last week in São José do Rio Preto in the Brazilian state of São Paulo after the authorities found signs they had been attacked or poisoned, out of fear of monkeypox transmission, according to the G1 news site in that country.
The police in São Paulo are investigating those cases and said the mistreatment of animals could be punishable by three months to one year in jail.
Despite the name, the risk of monkeypox transmission during this outbreak is centered on humans, not animals, Margaret Harris, a W.H.O.
The monkeypox virus is primarily found in Central and West Africa, particularly in areas close to tropical rainforests — and rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats and dormice have all been identified as potential carriers.
The United States declared a national health emergency this month over the monkeypox outbreak, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases nationwide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.