The Maryland State Department of Health (MDH), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States, confirmed this Tuesday a case of infection by the monkeypox virus in a local resident who recently returned from Nigeria.
The infected person had mild symptoms and is recovering in isolation. Health authorities said he is not hospitalized. Also, at the moment they did not make recommendations with special precautions for the general public.
“Public health authorities have identified and continue to monitor people who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual”said the Dr. Jinlene Chan, Undersecretary of Public Health of the MDH. “Our response in close coordination with CDC officials demonstrates the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure,” he added.
Monkey pox belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, but usually causes a milder infection. It can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions or body fluids, or with contaminated materials such as clothing or sheets. It can also spread through large respiratory droplets they generally cannot travel beyond a few meters, and prolonged face-to-face contact is required.
The disease usually begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, and evolves into a widespread rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. Individuals identified as potentially exposed to this case will be monitored for symptoms of monkeypox for 21 days after exposure, the Maryland Department of Health reported.
Monkeypox infections in humans occur mainly in the Central and West African countries and have only rarely been documented outside of Africa. Although all strains can cause infection, those circulating in West Africa, where Nigeria is located, usually cause less severe disease, according to Maryland authorities.