Amid reports of monkeypox outbreaks in multiple European countries, U.S. health officials Wednesday confirmed the first case of monkeypox virus infection in Massachusetts.
The CDC expressed concern on Tuesday about the monkeypox outbreak in the U.K. and warned it could potentially spread beyond U.K. borders.
Portuguese health authorities on Wednesday confirmed five cases of monkeypox, and Spanish health authorities issued an alert over a possible outbreak of monkeypox after 23 people showed symptoms compatible with the viral infection.
“We do have a level of concern that this is very different than what we typically think of from monkeypox. And I think we have some concern that there could be spread outside the U.K associated with this,” a senior CDC official told STAT in an interview.
Seven confirmed and one probable case of monkeypox have been discovered in the U.K. since early May — an unusually large number given that human monkeypox cases are uncommon, and are especially rare outside West and Central Africa. While one of the cases had recently traveled to Nigeria, where monkeypox is endemic, the others appear to have contracted the virus in the U.K. None of the people infected domestically has any known connections with the traveler and the timing of the onset of the cases suggest he was not the source of those infections.
Complicating the situation — and amplifying the concern — is the fact that the other cases comprise two distinct groups that have no discernible links to one other. Two of the confirmed cases and the single probable case are a family unit, Maria Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization expert, said at a press conference on Tuesday. The other four confirmed cases, disclosed most recently, were identified by the U.K. Health Security Agency as gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men — three from London and a fourth from Newcastle, nearly 300 miles to the north. All four were likely infected in London, the agency said.
It is not known how any of these people contracted the virus. Transmission is thought to occur mainly through virus-laced droplets, but direct contact with lesions or bodily fluids from an infected person, or indirect contact via contaminated clothing or linens, can also result in transmission.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed the first case of monkeypox virus infection in a male adult who recently traveled to Canada.
JUST IN: A Massachusetts resident has tested positive for monkeypox, the state health department confirms. https://t.co/0RBA2F11Rb
— ABC News (@ABC) May 18, 2022
From ABC News:
A Massachusetts resident has tested positive for monkeypox, health officials confirmed Wednesday, making it the first case of the rare virus detected in the United States this year.
According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient is an adult male who recently traveled to Canada. The department completed initial testing Tuesday and was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition," MDPH stated in a press release. "DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious."
It comes after four more cases of monkeypox were identified in the U.K recently, bringing the nationwide total to nine since the beginning of May.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The first case among humans was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, and the illness has since spread to several other nations, mostly in central and western Africa.