More than 200 people being monitored for possible monkeypox in US

Cases believed to be contacts of a Texas resident who contracted the disease in Nigeria earlier this month

Peony Hirwani
Wednesday 21 July 2021 09:19
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What is Monkeypox?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking more than 200 people in 27 states in the US for possible exposure to human monkeypox.

According to reports, people came in contact with a Texas resident who contracted the disease in Nigeria earlier this month.

The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Friday that the unidentified man was in a stable condition and currently in isolation. It is thought to be the first-ever monkeypox case in Texas.

“CDC is working with the airline and state and local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient during two flights: Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, with arrival on July 9; and Atlanta to Dallas on July 9,” CDC said in a statement.

The agency also mentioned that all passengers on these flights were required to wear masks due to Covid-19 restrictions, therefore, the “[risk of] spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports is low”.

However, the organisation is working with the airline to assess “potential risks to those who may have had close contact with the traveller” on the plane and other areas.

“While rare, this is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public”, said Dallas County Judge Clay Jankins in a statement.

“Dallas County Health ad Human services is working with local providers, as well as our state and federal partners.”

Monkeypox, while rare, has been discovered in the US before. A 2003 outbreak was found in pet prairie dogs and traced back to rodents flown into the US. Most monkeypox cases are found in Africa.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease from the smallpox family. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, body fluids or contact with an infected animal or associated products.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its symptoms include those similar to seasonal flu, including swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a widespread rash on the face and body.

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