After 18 years, a case of monkeypox has been reported in the United States; know about its symptoms and other details

New Delhi: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a rare case of monkeypox was discovered in the US state of Texas, making it the first such case recorded in the state. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed a case of human monkeypox in a US resident who recently travelled from Nigeria to the United States on July 15,” according to a press release from the CDC.

The infected person, who flew from Lagos, Nigeria, to Dallas with a layover in Atlanta, is currently hospitalised in Dallas. According to the CDC release, health officials are in contact with airline passengers and others who may have had contact with the infected individual.

The last monkeypox outbreak in the United States occurred in 2003, when the virus infected over 47 people. It was traced back to pet prairie dogs in the Midwest that were infected with the virus.

According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes before progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body.

What exactly is monkeypox?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, during a period of increased effort to eradicate smallpox. Monkeypox has been reported in humans in other Central and Western African countries since then.

Monkeypox’s natural reservoir is unknown. African rodent species, on the other hand, are suspected of playing a role in transmission. The CDC believes that the spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on aeroplanes and in airports is minimal.

What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to, but milder than, smallpox symptoms. The symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. According to the CDC, the main difference between smallpox and monkeypox symptoms is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not. Monkeypox has an incubation period of 714 days (from infection to symptoms), but it can be as short as 521 days. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash, which usually begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.

What is the cure for monkeypox?

According to the CDC, there is currently no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. Smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used to control a monkeypox outbreak in the United States. The medical body also listed preventative measures that can be taken to avoid the viral illness. These precautions include using good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans, avoiding contact with animals that may harbour the virus, isolating infected patients from others who may be at risk of infection, and using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.

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