May 23, 2022
An extremely rare disease called monkeypox, a cousin of smallpox, has again made its way to the United States. A case of monkeypox was reported on Wednesday, May 18, in a patient hospitalized in Massachusetts who had recently traveled to Canada using private transportation, reports CNN.
In 2021, two people traveling from Nigeria to the United States were diagnosed with the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monkeypox is mostly found in West and Central Africa; but additional cases have been seen in Europe, including the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world in recent years. Those cases are typically linked to international travel or imported animals infected with the pox, the CDC said.
On Thursday, CNN reports:
- Spain confirmed seven cases of monkeypox in Madrid and authorities are investigating another 22;
- Italy confirmed its first case; and
- Canadian public health officials announced they are investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox in Montreal.
Several cases of monkeypox in the U.K. among people who have no known travel or contact with others who are carrying the virus have health officials there and at the CDC concerned—but there is no cause for alarm, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“At this time, we don’t want people to worry,” Murthy said. “These numbers are still small; we want them to be aware of (the) symptoms and, if they have any concerns, to reach out to their doctor.”
What are the initial symptoms of monkeypox? There is an incubation period of some seven to 14 days, the CDC said. Initial symptoms are typically flu-like, such as fever, chills, exhaustion, headache and muscle weakness, followed by swelling in the lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and disease.
The painful, raised poxes are pearly and fluid-filled, often surrounded by red circles. The lesions finally scab over and resolve over a period of two to three weeks, the CDC said.
“Treatment is generally supportive as there are no specific drugs available. However, a vaccine is available that can be given to prevent the development of disease,” Jimmy Whitworth, professor of International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement.
Close contact with an infected individual is required for the spread of the monkeypox virus, experts say.
Research contact: @CNN