The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday confirmed a rare case of human monkeypox virus detected in Dallas after a traveler’s recent visit to Nigeria.
Disclosing this in a statement, the traveler, whose details wasn’t given, took a flight to the U.S. from Lagos, Nigeria, on July 8, 2021. He or she landed in Atlanta the next day, and from there, the traveler reportedly boarded a flight from Atlanta to Dallas.
The CDC says it’s currently working with the airline and state and local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient during two flights: Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, with arrival on July 9; and Atlanta to Dallas on July 9.
“Travelers on these flights were required to wear masks, as well as in the U.S. airports due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it’s believed the risk of spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports is low,” said the CDC in a statement.
Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox but causes a milder infection. The CDC says it’s a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically starts with a flu-like sickness and swelling of the lymph nodes.
It progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last two to four weeks.
In this case, the CDC says lab tests showed the traveler is infected with a strain of monkeypox most commonly seen in parts of West Africa, including Nigeria.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease popped up in colonies of monkeys kept for research, the CDC says.
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.