Massachusetts Reports First U.S. Case of Monkeypox in 2022

Massachusetts officials reported on May 18 the first case of monkeypox in the United States this year, after a string of new cases in Europe.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed that an adult male who recently traveled to Canada was infected with the virus.

Officials said that the initial testing was completed on May 17 at the State Public Health Laboratory, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed testing on May 18.

The patient has been hospitalized and is in good condition, and his case does not pose a risk to the public, the Department said.

Officials are working to identify individuals who may be in contact with the patient while he was infectious.

The virus rarely appears outside of central and western Africa but it is “a potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body,” the Department said.

According to the Department, most infections last two to four weeks.

While the virus does not spread easily between people, transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores… or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact,” the Department also said.

The United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal have reported cases of the monkeypox since the beginning of May.

In 2021, Texas and Maryland each reported a monkeypox case in people who had recently traveled to Nigeria.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,  monkeypox a case fatality rate of 3.6% while mortality is higher among young people and immunocompromised individuals. 

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