The first case of monkeypox in the United States in 2022 confirmed: here’s what you need to know

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Massachusetts health officials on Wednesday confirmed the only case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male who, health officials said, had recently traveled to Canada. The patient, a resident of Massachusetts, was under the care of doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr Eric Shenoy, who works in the special pathogens department at Massachusetts General, said the patient was hospitalized on May 12. “They were examined for various symptoms. At the time of admission, they were identified as a possible smallpox suspect monkey,” Shenoy said. The Department of Public Health said monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease that usually begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. It turns into a rash on the face and body, with most infections lasting two to four weeks. DPH said the initial testing was completed late Tuesday at a state lab in Jamaican Plain, and confirmatory testing was completed Wednesday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DPH said it 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 was infectious. “We don’t know how the patient acquired this infection, and so we work closely with health authorities,” said Dr. Paul Bidinger, chief of staff at Mass General’s Preparedness Service. Despite how rare the virus is, noticing alarming symptoms, MGH doctors examined the patient and isolated him in a special department of pathogens. Authorities are now informing close contacts, “This approach to contact tracking is the most appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus,” a DPH press release said. “The case does not pose a danger to the public and the person is hospitalized and in good condition.” In some parts of Central and West Africa where monkeypox occurs, humans can be bitten or scratched by rodents and small mammals while cooking game, or contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products. DPH said the virus is not easily spread among humans. “Transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox wounds, fluid-contaminated objects or wounds such as clothing and bedding, or through respiratory drops after prolonged face-to-face contact. No monkey cases have been reported in the United States before. The Department of Public Health reported in the states in 2022. Texas and Maryland reported a case in 2021 in people who recently traveled to Nigeria. Since the beginning of May, nine cases of monkeypox have been detected in the United Kingdom. The first person with the diagnosis recently traveled to Nigeria. According to DPH, in no other case have recent trips been reported. The British health authorities said on Wednesday that they had discovered two new cases of monkeypox, one in London and the other in the south-east of England. They said none of the cases had previously traveled to Africa and it is possible that they were infected in the UK. The cases had no known links to other previously confirmed patients, suggesting the presence of several monkeypox transmission chains already occurring in the country. Portugal’s top health department said they were also investigating 15 suspicious cases and that all had been discovered this month in the Lisbon capital area. In all cases, men are linked in Portugal, most of them young, authorities said. They have skin damage, their condition is stable. Authorities have not reported whether there have been men in the history of travel to Africa or any connection to recent incidents in the UK or elsewhere. In Africa, people became infected through the bites of rodents or small animals, and it is not usually easily spread among humans. However, investigators in Europe say most cases have been gay and bisexual, and officials are considering the possibility that some infections spread through close contact during sex. Smallpox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people are cured of monkeypox within a few weeks, but the disease kills up to 1 in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Massachusetts health officials on Wednesday confirmed the only case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male who, according to officials, recently traveled to Canada.

The patient, a resident of Massachusetts, was under medical care at a Massachusetts general hospital.

Dr Eric Shenoy, who works in the special pathogens department at Mass General, said the patient was admitted on May 12.

“They were examined for various symptoms. At the time of admission, they were identified as possible suspects for monkeypox,” Shenoy said.

The Department of Public Health said monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease that usually begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. It turns into a rash on the face and body, with most infections lasting two to four weeks.

DPH said the initial testing was completed late Tuesday at a state lab in Jamaican Plain, and confirmatory testing was completed Wednesday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DPH said it is working closely with the CDC, relevant local health departments and health professionals to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient if he was infectious.

“We don’t know how the patient got this infection, and so we work closely with the health authorities,” said Dr. Paul Bidinger, chief of staff at Mass General.

Despite how rare the virus is, noticing alarming symptoms, MGH doctors examined the patient and isolated him in a special department of pathogens.

Authorities are now reporting close contacts.

“This approach to contact tracking is best suited to the nature and transmission of the virus,” a DPH press release said. “The case does not pose a risk to the population, the person is hospitalized and is in good condition.”

In areas of Central and West Africa where monkeypox occurs, humans can be exposed through the bites or scratches of rodents and small mammals, cook game, or come into contact with infected animals or possibly animal products.

DPH said the virus is not easily spread among humans. “Transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox ulcers, objects contaminated with fluids or wounds such as clothing and bedding, or through respiratory drops after prolonged face-to-face contact.

In 2022, no cases of monkeypox were previously detected in the United States, according to the Department of Public Health. Texas and Maryland have reported cases in 2021 of people who recently traveled to Nigeria.

Since the beginning of May, nine cases of monkeypox have been detected in the United Kingdom. The first person with the diagnosis recently traveled to Nigeria. According to DPH, in no other case have recent trips been reported.

The British health authorities said on Wednesday that they had discovered two new cases of monkeypox, one in London and the other in the south-east of England.

They said none of the cases had previously traveled to Africa and that they may have been infected in the UK. These cases had no known links to other previously confirmed patients, suggesting that there may be multiple monkeypox transmission chains in the country.

Portugal’s top health department said they were also investigating 15 suspicious cases and that all had been discovered this month in the Lisbon capital area.

Authorities said all cases in Portugal concerned men, most of whom were young. They have skin damage, their condition is stable. Authorities have not said whether there have been men in the history of trips to Africa or any connection to recent incidents in the UK or elsewhere.

In Africa, people become infected through the bites of rodents or small animals, and it is not usually easily spread among humans.

However, investigators in Europe say most cases have been gay and bisexual, and officials are considering the possibility that some infections spread through close contact during sex.

Smallpox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people are cured of monkeypox within a few weeks, but according to the World Health Organization, the disease kills up to 1 in 10 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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