A Dallas resident who recently flew home from Nigeria was hospitalized with monkeypox, health officials announced Friday, marking the first case of the rare disease in the United States since a 2003 outbreak, which is not expected this time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials, the patient has a strain of monkeypox most common in West Africa, and others who may have come into contact with the patient while traveling are not thought to be at high risk for the disease infection.
The patient flew from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8 and flew from Atlanta to Dallas on July 9, according to the CDC.
Chickenpox is a rare and potentially serious disease typically found in central and western Africa that causes flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash that can look like chickenpox.
It is most often spread between humans by large respiratory droplets, but the CDC does not think it is likely that other travelers have been infected because masks are required on planes and in airports.
The patient is in stable condition at a Dallas hospital, with the strain responsible for the infection having a typical mortality rate of about 1%, according to health officials.
“While rare, this case is not cause for alarm and we expect no threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement .
BACKGROUND ON THE KEY
The origin of monkeypox is unknown, but it is thought that rodents and small mammals, such as monkeys, could carry the disease and transmit it to humans. Animal bites or scratches are thought to be a means of transmission of the disease, while contact with an infected animal or animal products is also considered a possibility. This latest case comes after Nigerian outbreaks began to appear in 2017, marking the end of a 40-year period without any known cases in the country, according to the CDC. The last time monkeypox was diagnosed in the United States was in 2003, when 47 people were infected after the disease spread from imported African rodents to prairie dogs. No deaths were reported during the 2003 outbreak.