A Maryland resident was diagnosed with monkeypox after returning from a trip to Nigeria, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed Wednesday.
The rare virus, named because it was originally found in colonies of monkeys used for research, first causes fever, headache, muscle aches, chills and swollen lymph nodes, and after one to three days patients develop a rash that spreads over the body.
Monkeypox typically spreads through respiratory droplets, or from touching body fluids or the rashes.
The CDC said that the Maryland resident has mild symptoms and is now in isolation after flying back to the U.S. through Washington, D.C. The federal health agency is currently working with local and international health officials and the airline to identify anyone who may have come in contact with the patient.
But because airline passengers were required to wear masks on the flight due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials believe that the risk of monkeypox transmission from the patient is "low."
"Public health authorities have identified and continue to follow up with those who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual," Dr. Jinlene Chan, from the Maryland Department of Health, said in a statement.
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Monkeypox is most often found in central and west African countries or in travelers coming from those areas. This is the second case of monkeypox in the U.S. this year, after a person in Texas who had also traveled from Nigeria was diagnosed in July. Prior to this year, the last cases in the U.S. were from 2003.
The Maryland Department of Health instructed any travelers returning from central or western Africa to look out for monkeypox symptoms and alert their doctor if they start feeling sick.
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