Mass. officials report case of monkeypox

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and...
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)(AP)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) - State officials report that there is a case of monkeypox in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said that the infection is in an adult male who recently traveled to Canada. He is currently hospitalized in good condition.

“Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body,” Mass. DPH said in a statement. They added that most infections last two to four weeks.

Monkeypox can sometimes can be confused clinically with a sexually transmitted infection like herpes or syphilis, or with varicella zoster virus.

Initial testing was done on Tuesday by the state’s Public Health Laboratory and was confirmed with testing completed Wednesday at the CDC. Mass. DPH is working with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the man’s health care providers to identify people who may have been in contact with him while he was infectious.

According to Mass. DPH, the virus doesn’t spread easily between people and transmission can occur through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox spores, contaminated items like clothing and bedding, or through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

This case does not pose a risk to the public. No other monkeypox cases have been identified in the United States this year. There were cases in Maryland and Texas in 2021 in people who had recently traveled to Nigeria.

The United Kingdom has seen nine cases since early May. The first case was in someone who had recently traveled to Nigeria and none of the other cases reported any recent travel. The most recent cases in the United Kingdom have been in men who had sexual contact with men.

Mass. DPH said that based on the case in the Bay State and those in seen in the United Kingdom, medical providers are being told to consider a monkeypox diagnosis for those who have an unexplained rash and:

  • Traveled to a country in the last 30 days that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox
  • Reported contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox
  • OR
  • A man who reports sexual contact with other men