Texas Resident Hospitalized With Monkeypox in Dallas After Traveling to Africa

A Texas resident who recently traveled from Africa has been hospitalized after catching what the Texas Department of State Health Services believes is the first case of monkeypox in the state, a diagnosis that comes 18 years after the nation’s last outbreak of the rare disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other heath officials are working to trace the person’s contacts to help prevent another outbreak of the illness. But health officials say the risk to the public is low, especially because COVID-19 precautions on the person’s flights likely kept the virus from spreading.

Monkeypox, which originates from the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a rare disease that causes flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body, according to the CDC. Most infections last two to four weeks. While it’s known to cause mild infection, it can become a potentially serious viral illness.

People can catch monkeypox by coming in contact with infected animals or animal products, including by preparing wild game or being bitten or scratched by an animal, according to the CDC. Experts believe human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets.

Most outbreaks of monkeypox have occurred in Africa, with the first human case recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A U.S. outbreak of monkeypox occurred in 2003, after the virus spread from imported African rodents to pet prairie dogs, resulting in 47 reported cases.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Edward Segarra

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