The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that a rare case of human monkeypox has been detected in Texas. This is the first instance of monkeypox in the state.
The infectious illness was found in a man who recently returned to the United States after visiting Nigeria.
According to the health department, the patient is stable and currently hospitalised in Dallas.
“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, said.
Nigeria is not the only country that has reported outbreaks in the past; Central and West African countries have also reported outbreaks as far back 1970, and the U.S. had a massive outbreak in 2003.
Monkeypox, which belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a rare but potentially dangerous infection.
The disease, which usually begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of lymph nodes, gradually progresses to widespread rashes on the face and body. It can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.
According to the CDC, since travellers were wearing masks due to COVID-19, there is only a little risk of monkeypox spreading via respiratory droplets on aeroplanes and at airports.
CDC also confirmed that the patient’s strain was one found in parts of West Africa, including Nigeria.
The CDC says it is working with local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who had contact with the infected traveller during their flights from Lagos to Atlanta on July 8 and Dallas to Atlanta on July 9.
The last time monkeypox was recorded in the U.S. was in 2003 when no fewer than 50 people fell ill after imported African rodents infected prairie dogs and they subsequently infected humans.
This launched a government search across 15 states for infected prairie dogs.