Maryland reports first presumed case of monkeypox virus – Baltimore Sun

The first suspected Maryland case of human monkeypox, a rare but contagious infection that has emerged in the United States, has been identified by the state health department.

A Maryland resident presumed to have the infection showed mild symptoms and did not require hospital care, the Maryland Department of Health said Thursday. The person is in isolation and waiting for test results to confirm an infection. Human monkeypox is a virus in the same family as smallpox, although typically less severe.

The health department provided no other details about the individual including where in the state they reside or personal information such as age or gender.

The risk of contracting human monkeypox is low, according to the health department.

The virus can be spread through direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids or contaminated materials such as clothing or linens, according to the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention. It also can be spread through respiratory droplets.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, swelling of lymph nodes, and a distinctive pox-like rash that often starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body, according to the CDC.

Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after exposure and clear up within two to four weeks, according to the CDC.

The virus was first isolated in 1958 from monkeys being kept for research and later appeared in humans in 1970. The World Health Organization is in the process of establishing a new name for the virus, which causes a pox-like rash.

The United States does not normally experience monkeypox cases, but the virus has recently spread to several countries and 20 other states.

This story may be updated.

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