A case of monkeypox, a rare but potentially serious viral disease, has been identified in a Maryland resident who recently returned from Nigeria, making it the second case in the United States this year, health officials said. They said the risk of spreading the virus is low.
The Maryland Department of Health said in a statement Tuesday that the man was in isolation with mild symptoms but was not hospitalized. The travel agency has not identified the traveler.
This is the second confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States in the past few months. The first infection was discovered in July in a Texas resident who also returned from Nigeria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said then.
In a statement Wednesday, the CDC said it is working with an unidentified airline and health officials to contact anyone who may have had contact with the Maryland traveler. However, the agency said other passengers had a low chance of contracting the virus through respiratory droplets because they were required to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“No special precautions for the public are currently recommended,” Maryland health authorities said in a statement, adding that they have identified and are monitoring people who may have been in contact with the traveler.
So named because it was first detected in laboratory monkeys, monkeypox occurs primarily in Central and West Africa, although it caused an outbreak in the United States in 2003 after spreading from imported African rodents to domestic grasslands, according to the CDC. dogs.
There were 47 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox in six states during this outbreak, according to the CDC. Those who were infected reported symptoms such as fever, headaches, muscle aches, and rashes. No deaths were reported.
Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, but it causes milder symptoms, according to the CDC. The illness usually begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a widespread rash on the face and body. Most infections last two to four weeks.
In this case, laboratory tests at the Centers for Disease Control revealed that the patient was infected with a strain of monkeypox, which is most common in parts of West Africa, including Nigeria. Infections with this strain are fatal in about 1 in 100 people, according to the CDC, although rates may be higher in people with weakened immune systems.
The CDC said it supports Nigeria’s response to monkeypox since 2017, when the disease re-emerged in that country after a period of more than 40 years with no reported cases. Since then, Nigeria has identified 218 cases, with eight of them reported in international travelers from the country, including Texas and Maryland.
There are no specific treatments for monkeypox infections, according to the CDC, although one vaccine has been licensed in the US to prevent monkeypox and smallpox.
Monkeypox is commonly found in animals such as rats, mice, and rabbits, but can infect people bitten or scratched by animals; who cooks wild game; or who comes in contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products, the CDC said.
The virus can be transmitted between people through bodily fluids, sores, or objects contaminated with body fluids, but it is usually transmitted through large respiratory droplets that do not travel more than a few feet. Prolonged face-to-face contact is usually required for the virus to spread, the CDC said.