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 the Maryland Department of Health.
The infected person is currently in isolation in Maryland.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and then progresses to a widespread rash on the face and body.
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's working with other officials to seek out airline passengers and those who may have had contact with the patient, and to assess their potential risks.
Travelers on the flight were required to wear masks, so it's believed that there's 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 7 to14 days, but it can range from 5 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.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on monkeypox.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Nov. 17, 2021