Health officials confirm that the first case of smallpox in the United States this year was reported in Massachusetts

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On Wednesday, health officials confirmed that a Massachusetts resident had tested positive for monkeypox, making it the first case of a rare virus found in the United States this year.

According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient is an adult male who recently traveled to Canada. The department completed initial testing on Tuesday and was validated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The case does not pose a danger to the population, the person is hospitalized and is in good condition,” – said in a press release MDPH. “DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local health departments and patient health professionals to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient if he or she was infectious.”

This came after four more cases of monkeypox were recently detected in the UK, bringing the total number across the country since early May to nine.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkey virus. The first human case was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, and the disease has since spread to several other countries, mostly in central and West Africa.

It can be transmitted from animals to humans when an infected animal – such as a rodent or primate – bites or scratches a human. The CDC said people can also become infected when hunting wild animals or when preparing meat bushes for consumption.

The disease can also spread from person to person through large respiratory droplets in the air, but they cannot move more than a few feet, so two people will need prolonged close contact.

The most common symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

Very few cases of monkeypox have been reported among Americans.

According to the CDC, the disease does not occur naturally in the United States. Infections are common among people who have recently traveled to countries where monkeypox is more common.

In 2003, 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported in six U.S. states, the first cases of people outside Africa.

All infections occurred after contact with domestic meadow dogs, which in turn became infected “after being placed next to imported small mammals from Ghana,” the CDC said.

Since then, only two other cases have been identified in the U.S., both related to travel.

In July 2021, a case was confirmed in a Texas resident who had recently returned from Nigeria, and in November 2021 another case was discovered in a Maryland resident who was also traveling to Nigeria.

William Gretsky of ABC News contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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