First Presumed Monkeypox Infection Identified In Maryland Resident

The scourge of new monkeypox cases that have been spreading across the US has hit Maryland.

The first presumed case of human monkeypox has been identified in Maryland.
The first presumed case of human monkeypox has been identified in Maryland. Photo Credit: CDC

A Maryland resident from the National Capital Region has been identified as the first presumed case of human monkeypox infection in the state, the Department of Health announced.

The individual - whose name has not been released - presented mild symptoms, is currently recovering in isolation, and did not require hospitalization.

Testing was conducted at the State Public Health Laboratory while the Maryland Department of Health waits for confirmation testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Monkeypox cases have now been identified in at least 20 states, including Maryland and Washington, DC.

“Although human monkeypox is a rare infection in the United States, this Maryland case and other cases in the region and country remind us that we need to be prepared and take steps to prevent infection and its spread,” Department of Health Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan said.

“(The Department of Health) will continue to work with local and federal public health authorities and communicate responsibly with Maryland residents as we learn more.”  

Symptoms of monkeypox include a rash that could be preceded by a prodrome including fever, lymphadenopathy, and often other non-specific symptoms such as malaise, headache, and muscle aches, health officials said.

They generally appear seven to 14 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks.

"Human monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox but generally causes a milder infection," according to the Maryland Department of Health. "It can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids, or contaminated materials such as clothing or linens. 

"It can also be spread through large respiratory droplets, which generally cannot travel more than a few feet, and prolonged face-to-face contact is required."

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox virus infection, although antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may prove beneficial, officials noted, adding that the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of establishing a new name for the virus.

“Based on the limited information available at this time, the risk to the public appears low,” according to the CDC. "Some people who may have symptoms of monkeypox, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, should contact their healthcare provider for a risk assessment.”

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