First case of rare monkeypox in the U.S. was someone who recently travelled to Canada

A rare case of monkeypox has been confirmed in a man in Massachusetts who recently travelled to Canada, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

A Wednesday press release stated that the adult male was tested late Tuesday and was confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition,” the release stated.

The Masschusetts case is the first case to be reported in the U.S. since the U.K. announced on May 7 that it had detected a case of monkeypox. Since that first case, the U.K. has identified eight more cases. Portugal has reported five cases and Spain is investigating eight potential cases.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca on Wednesday that they are monitoring the situation, and that Canada has no cases at this stage.

“PHAC is aware of and closely monitoring the current situation concerning the reporting of monkeypox cases in Europe,” a spokesperson said. “No cases have been reported to PHAC at this time.”

Monkeypox is a virus that is common in wild animals such as squirrels, with most cases occurring in Western and Central Africa. Human cases are rare, with the first one recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.

Generally, transmission to humans occurs through a bite or “direct contact with the infected animal’s blood, body fluids, or lesions,” according to Health Canada. Once a human is infected, it is possible for it to spread between humans, but it is not spread easily and has limited transmissibility.

The symptoms of monkeypox can include a fever, muscle aches and fatigue in milder cases. Most cases resolve in a few days, but if the case is more serious, it can progress to a two to four week period in which a rash spreads and develops into pustules on the body, with lesions potentially developing on the mouth, tongue and genitalia.

The virus is similar to smallpox, but is milder and involves the swelling of lymph nodes, which is not found in smallpox cases. In Africa, the case fatality rate is estimated to be around 1-10 per cent. 

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