CDC monitors 6 people in US for possible rare monkeypox, says public 'should not be concerned' - CNN
May 21, 2022 2 mins, 57 secs
Currently, the CDC is monitoring six people in the United States for possible monkeypox infections after they sat near an infected traveler who had symptoms while on a flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom in early May.

Separately, CDC officials also are investigating a case of monkeypox confirmed in a man in Massachusetts who had recently traveled to Canada.

Bassett said in a statement Friday that "the current risk to the public is low."

"Reports of suspected cases of monkeypox in the United States and elsewhere are concerning.

While a possible case in New York State awaits confirmatory testing by our local and federal partners, the Department has alerted health care providers in New York State so that they can consider this unusual diagnosis if their patients present with symptoms," Bassett said.

Meanwhile, recent monkeypox infections have been identified in several other regions around the world where the virus is not usually common, including Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Northern Ireland and Spain.

"We have a level of scientific concern about what we're seeing because this is a very unusual situation.

Monkeypox is normally only reported in West Africa or Central Africa, and we don't see it in the United States or in Europe -- and the number of cases that are being reported is definitely outside the level of normal for what we would see," Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology within the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Thursday.

"At the same time, there really aren't that many cases that are being reported -- I think maybe a dozen, a couple dozen -- so, the general public should not be concerned that they are at immediate risk for monkeypox," she said.

"And if you haven't had contact in Massachusetts and you're not related to the person who had disease or in that link at all -- until we have any other reason to expect or to understand how this disease got into the United States -- your risk of getting monkeypox is really low."

A monkeypox mystery

In Massachusetts, physicians donning the same personal protective equipment they wear for Covid-19 patients have been treating the US monkeypox patient at a special pathogens unit within Massachusetts General Hospital, where he originally was diagnosed.

"They were undergoing a workup related to symptoms and the infectious diseases physician seeing the patient, learning about some of the cases in the United Kingdom, decided that the patient could possibly have monkeypox," Dr.

"This is an evolving situation that we're looking to understand better -- why these clusters that have been reported as well in the UK and in Portugal and Spain are happening, and to better understand the epidemiology."

Both in the United Kingdom and Canada, health authorities have noted that many of the monkeypox cases were identified in men who have sex with men -- but the virus is not typically described as a sexually transmitted infection and investigations into these recent cases continue.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like illness were seen in colonies of monkeys that were kept for research, leading to the name "monkeypox," according to the CDC.

The first human case of monkeypox was reported years later in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, during a time when intense efforts were underway to eliminate smallpox.

In the United States, the last outbreak of monkeypox recorded was in 2003, when 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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