Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in a Maryland resident who recently returned from Nigeria. The individual presented with mild symptoms, is currently recovering in isolation and is not hospitalized. No special precautions are recommended at this time for the general public.
“Public health authorities have identified and continue to follow up with those who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual,“ said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “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. It can be spread between people through direct contact with skin lesions or 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.
Illness typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, progressing to a widespread rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-4 weeks. The individuals identified as having been potentially exposed to this case will be monitored for symptoms of monkeypox for 21 days after exposure.
Human monkeypox infections primarily occur in central and western African countries and have only rarely been documented outside of Africa. Although all strains can cause infection, those circulating in western Africa, where Nigeria is located, generally cause less severe disease.
Travelers returning from central or western Africa are advised to notify their health care provider if they develop symptoms of monkeypox, particularly flu-like illness, swollen lymph nodes or rash. Clinicians are urged to maintain a high index of suspicion for clinically compatible illness.
Earlier this year another case of human monkeypox was confirmed in a U.S. resident of Texas, who traveled from Nigeria to the United States.