A Maryland resident who recently returned to the country on a flight from Nigeria has tested positive for monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Announced Wednesday. It is the second confirmed case of the rare disease in the United States since an outbreak infected 43 people in 2003.
The infected person is experiencing mild symptoms. They are not hospitalized but remain isolated in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Health said in a press release. The CDC said laboratory tests confirmed the case is the same strain of the virus that has resurfaced in Nigeria since 2017. The Nigerian strain is generally less severe, the state health department said.
“Public health authorities have identified and continue to follow up on those who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual,” Maryland Department of Health Under Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan said in a statement. statement. “Our response in close coordination with CDC officials demonstrates the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure.”
While the disease can spread through respiratory droplets, the CDC said the risk is low since passengers on the flight with the infected person were required to wear masks. The state health department said no special precautions are recommended for the general public.
Monkeypox, which belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a very rare but life-threatening viral infection that begins with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash on the body, according to the CDC. . The illness usually lasts two to four weeks. It is also transmitted by direct contact with body fluids or skin lesions, or by contaminated materials such as sheets. Those without symptoms are not capable of transmitting the virus.
CDC urges US health care providers to be vigilant for poxvirus-like injuries in people, especially among travelers returning from West or Central Africa. The CDC said doctors should report suspected cases of monkeypox immediately to the appropriate health authorities.
Prior to this case, human monkeypox infections had only been documented on six separate occasions outside of Africa, according to the CDC.
In July, a resident of Dallas, Texas, who had just returned from Nigeriaof monkeypox in the first confirmed case in the country since an outbreak nearly 20 years ago. More than 200 people who were in possible contact with the infected person were asked to monitor their health for 21 days after diagnosis. After the monitoring period ended, no additional cases were identified, the CDC said.
In 2003, 47 peopleafter imported African rodents infected prairie dogs with monkeypox, which subsequently infected humans, the CDC said. It was the first time humans had been infected outside of Africa. The outbreak prompted government officials to search for infected prairie dogs in 15 states. As a result, the importation of African rodents into the US was prohibited.