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CDC Confirms Monkeypox Case in United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking clusters of the monkeypox virus reported in early and mid-May in several countries that do not usually have monkeypox outbreaks, including the United States.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that can spread quickly via body fluids, contaminated objects, and skin contact, or through respiratory droplets expelled into the air, indicating that the virus can spread fast through travel. The virus is endemic in several countries in west and central Africa.

Initial symptoms of this virus include fever, malaise, headache, and weakness. The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, with a distinguishing feature of swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpit. After the onset of swollen lymph nodes, a rash generally appears, along with lesions on the body. Severity of the illness depends on individual medical history, but symptoms can last between two and three weeks.

On May 18, CDC confirmed a Massachusetts resident tested positive with monkeypox after returning to the United States from Canada. The New York City Department of Health and Hygiene and the Florida Department of Health in Broward County are investigating additional potential cases.

Essential hospital University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Health, in Galveston, Texas, has charged its World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses with growing more samples of the monkeypox virus from prior outbreaks to distribute to researchers developing diagnostic tools and treatments.

CDC will hold a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity call about monkeypox on May 25, from 2–3 pm ET. CDC will share guidance about typical clinical presentation, treatment options, pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, and reporting to public health authorities. The agency will share a recording and supplemental resources after the call.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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