Texas man returns from Nigeria with case of monkeypox

DALLAS — A Dallas resident has been hospitalized in stable condition under isolation after returning from Nigeria with the first-ever Texas case of monkeypox, health officials revealed Friday.

In a statement, federal and state health officials said the traveler arrived at Dallas Love Field on July 9 from Atlanta after an overnight flight from Nigeria.

Monkeypox can be spread through fluids or contact with an infected animal.
Monkeypox can be spread through fluids or contact with an infected animal.
Star Tribune via Getty Images
Congolese doctors extract blood from a teenage boy with monkeypox in a village at the Republic of Congo on August 29, 2017
Congolese doctors extract blood from a teenage boy with monkeypox in a village at the Republic of Congo in 2017.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk to others on the flights and in the airport is low, especially in light of COVID-19-related masking policies. However, efforts are underway to contact his fellow passengers.

A microscopic image of monkeypox.
A microscopic image of monkeypox.
Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RF

Monkeypox is a rare viral pox-like disease from the smallpox family, only milder. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, contact with body fluids or contact with an infected animal or animal products.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States saw a large outbreak among humans in 2003 after the virus spread from imported African rodents to pet prairie dogs. However, this is believed to be the first monkeypox virus infection in a Texas resident, according to Dallas County health officials.

Monkeypox symptoms typically begin with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, then a widespread rash on the face and body, according to the CDC. Most infections last 2-4 weeks. Infections with this strain of monkeypox are fatal in about 1 in 100 people, but the mortality rate can be higher among those with weakened immune systems.

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