US Reports First Case of Monkeypox in 20 Years: How Does it Spread, What are Symptoms?

A Texas resident has been infected with a rare case of human monkeypox , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday. It is the first case of the virus seen in the United States in nearly two decades. The resident has now been hospitalized in Dallas after catching this rare but potentially serious viral illness.

Contact Tracing has begun

The Texas resident recently traveled from Nigeria to the United States. Currently, the patient is in stable condition and in order to avoid another outbreak of the illness, the process of contact tracing has received a green signal.

"This case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press release, reported NBC News.


First Case of the Virus Seen in the US in Nearly Two Decades

US witnessed an outbreak of monkeypox in 2003. This was the first time human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa. As many as 47 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox were reported from 6 states — Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – during this outbreak. However, no deaths were reported. The outbreak was traced to pet prairie dogs in the Midwest that harbored the virus.

What is Monkeypox and where was the 1st Human Case Recorded?

According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. It belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox.

According to MedicineNet, early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, a general feeling of discomfort, and exhaustion.

Monkeypox can spread to humans from an infected animal through an animal bite or direct contact with the animal's lesions or bodily fluids.

It can be fatal in up to 10% of cases. Africa has registered large numbers of monkeypox outbreaks. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

'We Should Maintain a Strong Public Health Infrastructure'

The Dallas County Health and Human Services released a press release on Friday and informed that the CDC is assessing potential risks to those who may have had contact with the traveler on the plane or in the airports.

The press release also said that the possibility of the spread of monkeypox to others is very low as the passengers on the flights wore face masks while onboard, as well as in the airport due to COVID-19 protocols.

"We have been working closely with the CDC and DSHS and have conducted interviews with the patient and close contacts that were exposed," Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, said. He further added."

This is another demonstration of the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure, as we are only a plane ride away from any global infectious disease."