Health officials are investigating a possible case of monkeypox in New York City, according to the city's health department.
The patient is being cared for at NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue, according to health officials.
The Health Department’s Public Health Lab will conduct preliminary tests to determine if the patient does have monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with a virus that is related to those that cause smallpox and cowpox. It was first discovered in 1958, when outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research -- resulting in its name. (What you need to know about monkeypox.)
The first case in a human was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which still has the majority of infections. Other African countries where it has been found: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox - which presents itself as a flu-like illness accompanied by lymph-node swelling and rash on the face and body -- is uncommon in the U.S.
Human symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox, the CDC says. Monkeypox starts off with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Monkeypox also causes lymph nodes to swell, something that smallpox does not. The incubation period is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
Typically cases recorded outside of Africa have been linked to international travel or animals that have been imported.
According to the CDC, monkeypox in the U.S. is very rare since it does not occur naturally in the country. However, the CDC notes that cases in the U.S. have happened which were associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common.
However, health officials say the risk to the general population remains low.