One case of monkeypox has been confirmed in the U.S., similar to other clusters of the virus that have been reported around the world recently, the CDC said on Wednesday.
The case was confirmed in Massachusetts from a man who recently traveled to Canada via “private transportation,” according to the agency. Massachusetts health officials confirmed the orthopoxvirus on Tuesday, and CDC confirmed that it was monkeypox on Wednesday.
Healthcare providers need to be on high alert, the CDC urged, saying that with any “rash that looks like monkeypox,” the virus should be considered in a differential diagnosis, regardless of whether the patient has travel history to central or west African countries. The virus reemerged in Nigeria in 2017 after 40 years, with more than 450 cases reported and at least eight known “exported cases” in other countries, the agency added.
The U.K., Spain, and Portugal have reported clusters of monkeypox in the past 2 weeks, including in men who have sex with men (MSM). However, the agency stressed that monkeypox can be contracted by contact with “body fluids, monkeypox sores,” or contaminated clothing or bedding. It also spreads via respiratory droplets, and providers should not limit concerns only to MSM.
“Many of these global reports of monkeypox cases are occurring within sexual networks,” said Inger Damon, MD, PhD, director of CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, in a statement. “However, healthcare providers should be alert to any rash that has features typical of monkeypox.”
The agency added that the virus presents with a “flu-like illness” and swelling of the lymph nodes prior to progressing to a rash covering the face and body. CDC said that patients have also reported genital lesions and rash similar to syphilis, herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster, and other “more common infections.”
Patients with monkeypox should be isolated in a negative pressure room and staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, the agency noted. Providers should then contact the state health department or CDC if they suspect a patient has monkeypox.