BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection on Wednesday. This is the first case reported in the U.S. in 2022.
According to a news release sent to WWLP from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the virus was found in a man who recently traveled to Canada.
Initial testing was completed yesterday at the State Public Health Laboratory. Confirmatory testing was completed Wednesday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Department of Public Health says it is working with the CDC, relevant boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify people the man may have had contact with while he was contagious.
“This contact tracing approach is the most appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus,” state health officials explain. “The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.”
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes that progresses to a rash on the face and body, according to the Department of Public Health. Most infections last between two weeks and a month.
In parts of central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
The virus does not spread easily between people, but transmission can happen by making contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
This is the first monkeypox case identified in the U.S. this year. In 2021, both Texas and Maryland reported one case each.
Health officials in the United Kingdom are on high alert with nine monkeypox cases having been identified this month. In the first case, the patient had recently traveled to Nigeria. None of the following cases reported recent travel, but most recent cases are among men who have sex with men, according to UK health officials.
Monkeypox was first reported in 1958, according to the CDC, and the first human case was reported 12 years later.