Massachusetts Health Officials Confirm Case Of Monkeypox

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - A Massachusetts man has been hospitalized at Massachusetts General with the first case of monkeypox in the United States in 2022.

Massachusetts health officials made the announcement Wednesday and said the man had recently traveled to Canada. He has been in isolation at Mass General since May 12.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working to identify anyone who may have been in contact with him while he was infectious.

"People should not be afraid of monkeypox right now," Dr. Paul Biddenger, Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness at Mass General Brigham said. "The current patient is of no public health risk right now and people should just be aware of symptoms but not be afraid in any way."

Signs of the disease include flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. Within one to three days of a fever, a distinctive rash appears and sometimes lesions. Most infections last anywhere from two to four weeks.

"It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox, but cases include individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men," DPH said in a statement.

The CDC is tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox that have been reported within the past two weeks in Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. These countries do not normally report monkeypox.

"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," according to the Massachusetts DPH. "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 (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact."

The United States identified two cases of monkeypox in Texas and Maryland in 2021 from people who had recent travel to Nigeria.

WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports

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