Human monkeypox is a viral zoonosis caused by monkeypox virus, an orthopoxvirus (OPXV). The majority of human monkeypox cases have been reported in moist forested regions in West and Central Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In this study we investigated zoonotic OPXV infection among wild animals in Zambia, which shares a border with DRC, to assess the geographical distribution of OPXV. We screened for OPXV antibodies in sera from non-human primates (NHPs), rodents and shrews by ELISA, and performed real-time PCR to detect OPXV DNA in spleen samples. Serological analysis indicated that 38 of 259 (14.7 %) rodents, 14 of 42 (33.3 %) shrews and 4 of 188 (2.1 %) NHPs had antibodies against OPXV. The OPXV DNA could not be detected in spleens from any animals tested. Our results indicated that wild animals living in rural human habitation areas of Zambia have been infected with OPXV.
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