Massachusetts Resident Tests Positive for Monkeypox

Health officials have officially confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the US this year. A Massachusetts citizen has tested positive for monkeypox and was later confirmed by health officials Wednesday. According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient is an adult make who recently traveled to Canada. The test was confirmed on Wednesday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention after going through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for initial testing. 

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The first case ever recorded amongst humans was found and recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Since then, the illness has spread across many other nations but mostly in western and central Africa. It is easily transmissible from animals to humans when an animal scratches or bites a person. According to the CDC, humans can also be infected when preparing bush meat for consumption or hunting wild animals. The disease is spread easily from person to person from respiratory droplets in the air. The more common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. 

Recently, the Massachusetts citizen was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on May 12. According to Dr. Erica Shenoy, the associate chief of the hospital’s infection control unit, states, “during the course of their admission, they were identified as a possible monkeypox suspect.” Shenoy said in a briefing with reporters Wednesday.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently made efforts to reassure the public in a press release. They stated, “The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition. DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious.”

This positive case comes after more than four cases identified in the U.K. recently, which brings the nationwide total to nine since the beginning of May. Due to this, it has encouraged doctors to “think more broadly about the patient’s diagnosis,” according to Shenoy. 

Monkeypox is part of the smallpox family of viruses and diseases. Most people recover from monkeypox within a week with the proper care.

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