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Monkeypox confirmed in Dallas resident returning from Nigeria, agencies seek exposures

DALLAS (WZTV) — A Dallas resident has been confirmed as having a case of monkeypox, the last outbreak of the rare disease taking place in the United States in 2003.

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported the case on Friday, stating the resident had traveled from Nigeria back to Dallas and had been hospitalized but in stable condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working to identify fellow passengers on the patient’s flights who could have come into contact with the individual.

The patient did stop in Atlanta from Lagos, Nigeria before arriving in Dallas during July 8-9. According to the CDC, the patient had a rash on July 7 and would report to the hospital on July 13. The patient was found to have tested positive for monkeypox.

The CDC says monkeypox, which is regularly found in Central and West African nations, begins with fever, headache, muscle ache, and malaise following an incubation period of 5 to 13 days. Then, a rash will likely appear, going through different stages. Lesions will often begin on the face and progress before turning into red, pus-filled bumps before scabbing and falling off.

According to the CDC, “monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.”

The disease is similar to smallpox with a case fatality rate of 1%-10%, per the CDC. The agency adds those infected with monkeypox are infectious in the 5 days prior to rash onset and remain infectious until the lesions have crusted and fallen off, revealing new skin.

Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” The CDC states. “Transmission can also occur by direct contact with body fluids or lesion material. Indirect contact with lesion material through fomites has also been documented. Animal-to-human transmission may occur through a bite or scratch, preparation of wild game, and direct or indirect contact with body fluids or lesion material.

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, although antivirals for smallpox could help.