Authorities have confirmed a fourth case of monkeypox in Massachusetts. The confirmed case was announced Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The first tests for the virus were carried out at the Jamaica Plain State Public Health Laboratory. The CDC will follow up with additional testing, according to a DPH statement. The man who tested positive is currently in isolation while healthcare workers use contact tracing to limit transmission.
Tuesday’s confirmed case comes just days after officials said two more cases were detected in Massachusetts men.
There have been 65 cases of monkeypox this year among US residents, according to CDC data. The first case in the country was identified in Massachusetts on May 18. It usually takes two to four weeks for patients to fully recover. No deaths related to the current global outbreak have been reported.
DPH officials offered new warnings and information regarding the outbreak.
“While many of the early cases were associated with international travel, recent cases have not. Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men account for a large proportion of the cases identified to date. However, the risk is not limited to the LGBT community, and anyone who has had close contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk,” a DPH statement read.
Although the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms. Transmission usually occurs through direct contact with bodily fluids and monkeypox sores, or by touching objects that have been contaminated with fluids or sores such as clothing or bedding. It can also spread through respiratory droplets, but prolonged face-to-face contact is required and this form of transmission is less common. The locations of rashes and lesions in recent cases suggest transmission through sexual contact, according to DPH.
Early symptoms of the virus include a rash, headache, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and the development of raised fluid-filled lesions.
“While we are in this current outbreak, and even though monkeypox remains rare, people are encouraged to be health conscious,” Dr. Catherine Brown, the state epidemiologist, said in the statement. . “If you have symptoms, and especially if you have a rash, it’s best to avoid prolonged physical contact with anyone until you feel better.”
Monkeypox was originally named in 1958 when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, according to the CDC.
Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said tuesday that the WHO will work with experts around the world to determine a new name for the virus. Last week, a group of more than 30 international scientists published a letter stressing the “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising name”, the BBC reported.
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