Massachusetts on Wednesday reported a rare case of monkeypox in a man who recently travelled to Canada, and health officials are looking into whether it is connected to small outbreaks in Europe.
Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa, and rare cases in the US and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there. A small number of confirmed or suspected cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain.
US health officials said they are in contact with officials in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation. The US case poses no risk to the public, and the Massachusetts resident is hospitalised but in good condition, officials said.
The case is the first in the US this year. Last year, Texas and Maryland each reported a case in people who travelled to Nigeria.
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Monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. In Africa, people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals, and it does not usually spread easily among people.
However, investigators in Europe say most of the cases have been in gay or bisexual men, and officials are looking into the possibility that some infections were spread through close contact during sex.
Monkeypox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease is fatal for up to 1 in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization.