Monkeypox infection confirmed amid outbreak fears

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A case of a deadly viral infection called monkeypox has been confirmed in a US state after a resident came back from an African country.

Fears of an outbreak grow following the news of a patient, who remains unnamed, in Maryland who has been confirmed to have the virus following their return from Nigeria.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH), in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the individual showed only mild symptoms.

They are currently in isolation and did not require to be hospitalised.

Officials are not advising any special precautions at this time for the general public.

MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan said: “Public health authorities have identified and continue to follow up with those who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual.

“Our response in close coordination with CDC officials demonstrates the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure.”

Monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox but generally causes a milder infection.

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It can quickly spread between people through direct contact with skin or bodily fluids.

Transfers of the virus have also been found to come from clothing and linen or even large respiratory droplets.

Signs of contracting the virus can see those display flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes before becoming a widespread rash on both the face and body.

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Most infections can last between two to four weeks but those who have been exposed to monkeypox need to be monitored for 21 days after contact.

Cases are rarely documented outside of Africa with the main areas of infection seen in central and western African countries.

Although transferred from human to human, the disease is mostly transmitted from wild animals to people.

According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria suffered an outbreak of monkeypox between 2017 and 2019 but cases are still being seen today.

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