A rare case of human monkeypox was detected in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, making it the first case of the virus seen in the state.
The viral illness was found in a U.S. resident, who recently traveled from Nigeria to the United States and is currently hospitalized in Dallas.
“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Other than Nigeria, outbreaks have also been reported in central and western African countries since 1970, with a large outbreak in people in the United States in 2003, according to the CDC.
CDC said it was working with the airline, state and local health officials to contact passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient.
Monkeypox, which belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, gradually progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body.
It can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. The CDC said since travelers were wearing masks due to COVID-19, the risk of spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports was low.
The patient was infected with the strain most commonly found in parts of West Africa, including Nigeria, CDC added.
There have been at least six reported monkeypox cases in travelers returning from Nigeria, prior to the current case, including in the United Kingdom, Israel and Singapore, according to the CDC. The latest case was not related to the previous cases.