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The United States is experiencing a limited outbreak of the monkeypox virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently confirmed that in mid-July, a Texas man who had traveled from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta, Georgia, had contracted the disease. The CDC is monitoring over 200 people the man had contact with and asking them to quarantine for about three weeks.
Monkeypox is typically found in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa and is carried by animals, including primates. The illness usually begins with a fever, muscle aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes and then grows into a full-blown rash of pox-like blisters.
“If left untreated, there can be very severe effects from it, including fatality, although that is very rare,” said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention and control at the University of Florida Health Jacksonville.
The CDC said that the strain of the virus that infected the Texas man has a fatality rate of about 10%.
Severe cases can be treated with antiviral drugs, such as cidofovir. However, the use of antivirals is off-label as it has not been extensively tested in humans with the monkeypox virus. Antivirals have shown success against the monkeypox virus in laboratory and animal tests.
The monkeypox virus is not nearly as contagious as the coronavirus. It is believed to be primarily a bloodborne pathogen, meaning that it is passed on via bodily fluids. Humans catch it from animal bites and scratches or from the handling of animal droppings.
It is possible that monkeypox can spread through the inhalation of respiratory droplets like the coronavirus, but Nielsen said it is unlikely, given how slow monkeypox spreads.
“The Texas case looks like it was an isolated case, where the person interacted with a potentially infected animal,” Nielsen said. “I would expect only one or two cases to spill over from that at most.”
A previous monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. in 2003 infected 47 people. It was linked to animals such as rodents and prairie dogs that were delivered to pet shops, where people were likely infected by handling the sheddings from those animals.
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Original Author: David Hogberg
Original Location: Monkeypox outbreak in US: What to know