UNITED STATES: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked more than 200 people in 27 U.S. states for possible rare monkeypox infections.
They fear the infected people may have come in contact with a Texas resident who contracted the disease in Nigeria earlier this month.
Originating from the same family as smallpox, monkeypox is a rare viral disease, however is much less severe than smallpox.
The Texas man – believed to be the first monkeypox case in the U.S. since 2003 – was taken to hospital but is in a stable condition and in isolation. It is said to be the first-ever monkeypox case in Texas.
CDC says it is concerned passengers on board two flights the man travelled in may have been exposed to the disease.
“CDC is working with the airline and state and local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient during two flights: Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, with arrival on July 9; and Atlanta to Dallas on July 9,” CDC said in a statement.
The agency also mentioned that chances of the disease spreading on the flight were low because all passengers were required to wear masks due to Covid-19 restrictions, therefore, the “[risk of] spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports is low”.
“The risk to the general public is thought to be low,” the CDC spokesperson said, adding that none of the 200 people they were monitoring were thought to be “high risk”.
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Monkeypox is mostly seen in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests. Symptoms include headaches, fever, aching muscles and back pain in the initial stages which extends to extremely itchy body rashes most commonly on the face, palms of the hand and soles of the feet. The lesions can cause scarring.
Monkeypox cases are mostly mild, sometimes resembling chickenpox. The pox clears up on its own within a few weeks. However, some cases are severe, with one in 100 being deadly, according to the CDC.
A 2003 outbreak in the U.S. caused 47 confirmed or probable cases and was linked to rats flown into the country.
Last month, three cases were identified in the U.K.
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