BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the CDC identified the first case of the human monkeypox virus in an adult Maryland resident.
This resident lives just outside of the Washington, D.C. area and they are currently recovering in isolation.
The testing was conducted at the State Public Health Laboratory.
“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,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan.
Human monkeypox is a milder form of smallpox. It can be spread through direct contact with skin, body fluids or contaminated materials like clothes.
It can also be spread through large respiratory droplets, which generally can't travel more than a few feet.
The World Health Organization is in the process of changing the name of monkeypox to avoid discrimination.
Symptoms in infected people include fever, chills, swelling of lymph nodes and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the other parts of the body. These begin to appear seven to 14 days after exposure.
These symptoms generally clear up within two to four weeks.
The risk of human monkeypox transmission remains low, but the public is asked to remain alert for symptoms.
People are asked to be on high alert if they meet this criteria:
- Those who traveled to central or west African countries, parts of Europe where monkeypox cases were reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox the month before their symptoms began
- Those who have had close contact with a person with confirmed or suspected monkeypox
- Those who have had close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, which includes men who have sex with men
MDH provides human monkeypox information and resources for residents and clinicians on its website.