Monkeypox case detected in the US as spread continues

Boston, Massachusetts - A case of monkeypox has been identified in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday.

A microscopic view of the virus that causes monkeypox.
A microscopic view of the virus that causes monkeypox.  © via REUTERS

A Massachusetts man was tested Tuesday night, with the CDC labs confirming monkeypox Wednesday afternoon. The infected person had recently travelled to Canada using private transport, the CDC noted.

The case follows multiple clusters of monkeypox recently reported in countries where the disease is not usually found – including Britain, Spain, and Portugal.

Canadian broadcaster CBC reported that health officials in Quebec are investigating cases of monkeypox after being notified a visitor to the province was later confirmed as a case.

Symptoms of monkeypox

A photo of monkeypox symptoms taken during an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the late 90s.
A photo of monkeypox symptoms taken during an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the late 90s.  © via REUTERS

Monkeypox occurs in Central and West Africa, often in proximity to tropical rainforests, and is considered endemic in Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first discovered in humans in 1970.

The illness can be transmitted from person to person through air droplets, close bodily contact or sharing contaminated linens or objects.

Britain had recorded seven cases as of Monday. The first, detected in early May, was in a person who had recently travelled to Nigeria.

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The virus usually causes symptoms similar to smallpox, but milder. Cases can also be severe. Smallpox has been considered eradicated worldwide since 1980 after a major vaccination campaign.

Experts suspect that the pathogen that causes monkeypox circulates in rodents – monkeys are so-called false hosts.

Cover photo: via REUTERS

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