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Maryland resident confirmed to have monkeypox after returning home from Nigeria

Rare Bacterial Disease
Posted at 11:44 AM, Nov 17, 2021

BALTIMORE, Md. — A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in the state of Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Health announced Wednesday that it confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in a Maryland resident who recently returned from Nigeria.

The person experienced mild symptoms and is recovering in isolation, without having to be hospitalized, according to the department.

At this time, officials say no special precautions are being recommended for the general public as a result of this case.

The department says it has identified and followed up with those who may have been in contact with the patient. Those people will be monitored for symptoms of monkeypox for 21 days after exposure.

Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, but it generally causes a milder infection, according to the department. It can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions or body fluids, or contaminated materials such as clothing or linens. It can also be spread through large respiratory droplets which generally cannot travel more than a few feet, and prolonged face-to-face contact is required.

Officials say the illness typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body. Most infections last two to four weeks.

“Human monkeypox infections primarily occur in central and western African countries and have only rarely been documented outside of Africa,” the department said. “Although all strains can cause infection, those circulating in western Africa, where Nigeria is located, generally cause less severe disease.”

Travelers returning from central or western Africa are advised to notify their health care provider if they develop symptoms of monkeypox, particularly flu-like illness, swollen lymph nodes, or rash.

The department is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the monkeypox case.

The CDC says the person diagnosed with monkeypox traveled on a flight to the U.S. that required passengers to wear masks. Therefore, the agency believes the risk of the virus being spread via respiratory droplets on the plane was low.

“Working with airline and state and local health partners, CDC is assessing potential risks to those who may have had close contact with the traveler on the plane and after their arrival in the United States,” wrote the CDC.