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First Monkeypox Case In US Recorded In Texas; CDC Says It’s Rare But Not Cause For Alarm

After 18 years since the last monkeypox outbreak, the first case was recorded in the United States earlier month. The patient is from Texas and possibly got it after traveling to Nigeria.

The case was recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 15. The patient is from Dallas, Texas, and after the confirmation was made, the CDC contacted and worked with state and federal agencies to monitor the more than 200 individuals who were on the same plane as the patient. The monitoring is for the possibility of being exposed to the disease.

WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

The CDC said that people should not panic because although monkeypox is rare, it’s not a cause for alarm. It is a viral infection, and the symptoms are usually flu-like. One will suffer from body aches, chills, and fever. Fatigue and swollen lymph nodes are secondary symptoms. The most distinct symptom of monkeypox is the pimple-like rash that spreads all over the patient’s body.

The illness usually lasts for two to three weeks. It is part of the Orthopoxvirus family, which includes cowpox and smallpox. Unlike smallpox, monkeypox is less severe. Accordingly, the mortality rate of monkeypox is 11 percent for individuals who do not have a smallpox vaccination.

Credit: nytimes.com

Monkeypox is typically spread by small rodents such as dormice, rats, and tree and rope squirrels. The first-ever case of monkeypox in human beings was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970. Most of such outbreaks are usually seen in Central and West African countries like Nigeria.

People can contract monkeypox through another human who has it. The transmission is through respiratory droplets or contact with the skin lesions caused by the monkeypox. It can linger on surfaces that is why family members or caregivers working closely with a person infected with monkeypox are likely to get it too.

The last time that the United States dealt with monkeypox was in 2003. More than 45 people in six different states contracted the virus. The CDC used smallpox vaccines to stop the spread at the time.