July 23, 2021
While public health officials are keeping an eye on the contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 in the US, the CDC is also on the lookout for a possible outbreak of another virus – monkey pox.
According to STAT News, more than 200 people in 27 states are being monitored for possible exposure after coming into contact with an American who contracted monkey pox in Nigeria before traveling to Texas earlier this month.
So far, none of the people being persecuted are considered high-risk patients and none have contracted the virus.
The traveler flew on an overnight flight from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta, Georgia on July 8, and then on another flight to Dallas on July 9. On July 15, the patient went to a Dallas hospital emergency room and was diagnosed with monkey pox, STAT reports.
State health authorities and the CDC are monitoring people sitting within 6 feet of the traveler on the night flight, flight attendants, passengers who used a specific toilet on the plane, those who cleaned the bathroom after the flight, and some family members who did interacted with the person in Dallas.
“The risk of monkeypox spreading on airplanes and at airports is believed to be low as travelers have had to wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox is mainly transmitted by droplet infection,” said the CDC.
Monkeypox is derived from a virus that is like smallpox. It was first discovered in 1958 when outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies held in Africa for research purposes, according to the CDC. The disease is typically mild and causes less severe illness than smallpox, but can be fatal in about 10% of cases.
“However, [fatality] Rates can be higher in people with compromised immune systems, ”the CDC wrote.
Symptoms include a fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a particular pox-like rash that develops all over the body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
Monkey pox was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is typically found in remote parts of central and west Africa. It was last discovered in the US in 2003, according to the CDC, when 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.