Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with the Maryland Department of Health and other health colleagues to investigate a case of monkeypox in a traveler returning to the United States from Nigeria. Yesterday, CDC laboratory scientists confirmed that the patient had monkeypox and that the infection would match the strain that has re-emerged in Nigeria since 2017. The man is now alone in Maryland.
The CDC works with international health counterparts, the airline, and state and local health officials in the Washington, DC area to contact plane passengers and others who have been in contact with the patient.
Travelers flying to the United States will have to wear airplane masks as well as at U.S. airports because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is believed that the risk of spreading the Monkeypox virus through respiratory droplets to other aircraft is small. Working with airline and state and local health partners, the CDC assessed the potential risks to those who have close contact with the airline passenger and after their arrival in the United States.
The CDC has asked U.S. health care providers to be wary of poxvirus-like infections, especially among travelers returning from Nigeria. Because of the health risks associated with a case of monkeypox, clinicians should immediately report suspected cases to state or local public health authorities even if they are also investigating other potential diagnoses. .
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease that often starts as a flu -like illness and inflammation of the lymph nodes and progresses to a widespread rash on the face and body. Monkeypox re-emerged in Nigeria in 2017 after more than 40 years of no reported cases. Since 2017, 218 cases have been confirmed in Nigeria and eight cases have been reported by international travelers from Nigeria, including one case in Texas in July 2021 and the current case.