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Maryland health officials confirm case of monkeypox in traveler

Maryland health officials confirm case of monkeypox in traveler
Undated photo of a person infected with the monkeypox virus. The Maryland Department of Health confirmed one case in the state on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The Maryland Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday a single case of monkeypox in a person who recently returned from traveling to Africa.

The department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the virus in a Maryland resident who recently returned from Nigeria. The person, who displayed mild symptoms, is currently in isolation.

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"Public health authorities have identified and continue to follow up with those who may have been in contact with the diagnosed individual," Dr. Jinlene Chan, Maryland's deputy secretary for public health, said in a statement. "Our response in close coordination with CDC officials demonstrates the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure."

The CDC said the current mask requirement on flights because of the coronavirus pandemic makes the risk of spreading the monkeypox virus on a plane low.

Monkeypox is in the same virus family as smallpox but generally causes a milder infection. The virus can be spread through respiratory droplets or direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids or contaminated materials such as clothing or linens, the health department said.

Human monkeypox infections more commonly occur in central and western African countries with rare documented cases outside of the continent. Strains in Nigeria and other portions of western Africa generally cause less severe outbreaks.

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Monkeypox symptoms include flu-like illness, swollen lymph nodes or rashes.

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