Massachusetts man found with first 2022 case of monkeypox in US

Case doesn’t pose risk to public, officials say

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 18 May 2022 23:03
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What is Monkeypox?
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A Massachusetts man has tested positive for the rare disease monkeypox, the first known case in the US this year, according to state public health officials.

The individual, who had recently traveled to Canada, is not a threat to the general population, officials said.

“The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The case was tested on Tuesday at a state lab then confirmed on Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious,” the public health agency added.

The news follows the announcement that nine cases of the rare but potentially serious virus have been detected in the UK this month.

Last year, there were just two cases found in the US, in Texas and Maryland, according to the DPH.

The first human case of monkeypox was discovered in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the disease doesn’t spread easily between humans, unless they’ve had contact with each other’s bodily fluids, contaminated items, or prolonged face-to-face contact.

People typically catch monkeypox if they’ve been bitten or scratched by rodents or small mammals, come into contact with an infected animal, or are preparing wild game.

The condition begins with patients experiencing a flu-like illness, and can involve swollen lymph nodes, and rashes covering the face and body, altogether lasting two-to-four weeks typically.

Authorities have been tracking a small monkeypox outbreak in the Europe in recent weeks.

So far, 36 cases have appeared across England, Portugal, and Spain. The cluster has surprised medical authorities because the disease is typically found in central and western African countries.

"This [outbreak] is rare and unusual," Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser of the U.K. Health Security Agency, said in a statement on Monday. "Exactly where and how they [people] acquired their infections remains under urgent investigation.”

UK officials have said the cluster of cases in the country appears to be concentrated among men who reported having sex with other men.

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