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CDC Investigating Case of Monkeypox in Traveler From Nigeria

Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than symptoms of smallpox

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A case of monkeypox in a traveler who returned to the United States from Nigeria is being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health.

The infected person is currently in isolation in Maryland. The strain in the infected person matches the strain that reemerged in Nigeria in 2017, after more than 40 years of no reported cases in that country.

The CDC said it is working with other officials to seek out airline passengers and those who may have had contact with the patient to assess their potential risks. Travelers on the flight were required to wear masks, so it is believed that there is a low risk that the monkeypox virus spread through respiratory droplets to other passengers, according to the CDC. Since 2017, 218 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Nigeria and eight cases have been reported in international travelers from Nigeria, including a case in Texas in July 2021 and the latest case, the agency said.

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. The main difference in symptoms is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not, the CDC says. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually seven to14 days, but it can range from five to 21 days.

The agency asked that health care providers be on the lookout for poxvirus-like lesions, particularly among travelers returning from Nigeria. Because of the health risks associated with even a single case of monkeypox, clinicians should report suspected cases immediately to state or local public health authorities.

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