Massachusetts reports first confirmed U.S. case of monkeypox this year

Massachusetts reports first confirmed U.S. case of monkeypox this year

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Massachusetts on Wednesday reported the first confirmed U.S. case of monkeypox this year in a man who had recently traveled to Canada.

The case comes amid an ongoing outbreak of monkeypox cases in Europe occurring from an unclear source of transmission.

“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male with recent travel to Canada,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Initial testing was completed late Tuesday at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, and follow-up testing was completed today at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

Officials are working to identify individuals who may have had contact with the man.

In the U.K., one cluster of cases was found among a family in which some members had recently traveled to Nigeria.

However, more cases were detected in London in an apparently unrelated cluster. British officials noted that four cases that were detected earlier this week were among men who have sex with men. The prevalence of cases among gay and bisexual men have led health experts to speculate that the pathogen may be spreading through sexual contact, and may need to be treated as an STI.

So far, cases have been detected in the U.K., Portugal and Spain.

Most monkeypox cases tend to occur in central and western Africa. Cases are rarely seen outside the continent, though Massachusetts health officials noted cases were reported in Texas and Maryland last year.

Symptoms of monkeypox tend to be mild and flu-like, such as headaches, muscle pain, chills and swollen lymph nodes. However, patients often develop a rash on their face and body that progresses through several stages until the skin lesions scab over and fall off.

In an interview published on Wednesday, CDC epidemiologist Jennifer McQuiston expressed concerns of monkeypox spreading beyond the U.K.’s borders.

“We do have a level of concern that this is very different than what we typically think of from monkeypox. And I think we have some concern that there could be spread outside the U.K associated with this,” she said.

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