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CDC: 37 suspected cases of monkeypox

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ATLANTA, Jun 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- There are 37 suspected U.S. cases of monkeypox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The virus appears to have spread from pet prairie dogs to people in three Midwestern states.

But only four people are confirmed to have had the disease, which is related to smallpox but not as deadly, and it isn't spreading among humans, said Stephen Ostroff, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases.

All of those infected either touched lesions on ill animals or were bitten by them, including prairie dogs and a rabbit, Ostroff told the Wall Street Journal.

Seven people have been hospitalized, and no one has died, he said.

"We do not believe this is as transmissible or infectious as ... influenza, measles or ... smallpox," Ostroff said. "It's not on that order of magnitude."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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