The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States is tracking more than 200 people in the country that may have contracted monkeypox – a rare disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus. Health officials fear people may have been infected by a man who brought the disease from Nigeria earlier in July.
CDC TRACKING POTENTIAL INFECTIONS IN 27 STATES
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 and got its name after two outbreaks of pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, according to the CDC. The first human was infected with the disease in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); since then monkeypox has been detected in humans in other central and western African countries.
The man that carried the disease from Nigeria is believed to be the first monkeypox case in the US since 2003, according to BBC News. He was transported to a hospital and remains in a stable condition.
No further cases have been detected thus far but the CDC said it is concerned that passengers on board the two flights the man made into the country may have been exposed to the disease. The patient touched down in Atlanta, Georgia from Lagos, Nigeria on 9 July and headed to Dallas, Texas where he was hospitalised.
“The risk to the general public is thought to be low,” said a CDC spokesperson to the BBC, adding that none of the 200 people being monitored is thought to be high-risk.
In June, three cases of the disease were discovered in the United Kingdom.
The symptoms of monkeypox in humans resemble smallpox but are milder and usually lasts for between 7 to 14 days but can last for up to 21 days.
“Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion,” according to the CDC. “The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not.”
The illness begins with the following:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
After one to three days of infection, the patient may develop a rash that often begins in the face before spreading to other parts of the body. The lesions also progress through several stages before scabbing and falling off and may cause scarring.
Monkeypox is fatal in as many as one in 10 persons that contract the disease.
The 2003 monkeypox outbreak in the United States was caused by African rodents imported as pets, according to the CDC.
The outbreak led to the infection of more than 80 people in eight central states who were infected through contact with prairie dogs exposed to the rodents – it was the first such infection in the Western Hemisphere, according to AFP at the time.