It’s been confirmed that a U.S. airline passenger has been diagnosed with human monkeypox.
On July 15th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed a case of human monkeypox in a U.S. resident who recently traveled from Nigeria to the United States.
The CDC is working with the airline, along with state and local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient during their two flights: from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, with arrival on July 9; and then from Atlanta to Dallas on July 9.
First discovered in 1958 and first diagnosed in humans in the early 1970, monkeypox is a communicable, viral disease. It’s closely related to smallpox, but, fortunately, is not nearly as deadly as smallpox had been (smallpox was eradicated in 1980 – it’s the only infectious disease in the world with that distinction. Yay vaccines!).
According to the CDC, the virus starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Within 1-3 (or sometimes more) days after the fever begins, the patient develops a rash that typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.
Humans can catch the virus through bites or scratches from an infected animal. when preparing wild game, or by having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
Human-to-human transmission can also occur, usually through respiratory droplets or contact with body fluids from the monkeypox sores.
Since travelers on this passenger’s two flights were required to wear masks, as well as in the U.S. airports due to the COVID pandemic, the CDC believes the risk that the passenger spread monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports is low (yay masks!).
The strain of monkeypox the passenger has is fatal in about 1 out of 100 people, but has a higher death rate for those who are immunocompromised.
The passenger is currently hospitalized in Dallas.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary