Health officials said Wednesday that the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States this year had recently traveled to Canada, as concern grew about the contagious virus spreading in several countries.
An adult man tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement, which was confirmed Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cases of monkeypox now suspected in the UK, Spain and Portugal – here’s what you need to know
The ministry did not say where the man traveled in Canada or when. Officials added that the case does not pose any danger to the public, but contact tracing is still continuing.
Public Health Canada (PHAC) said that no case of monkeypox had been reported to the agency as of Wednesday evening.
However, Dr. Don Finh, a microbiologist at McGill University in Montreal, told Global News he is working to confirm a suspected case that is currently being treated for monkeypox symptoms.
The reports come as cases are emerging in the UK, Spain and Portugal, raising concerns about further transmission.
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Health officials in Spain are investigating after eight men began showing symptoms of the viral infection. These cases have not yet been officially confirmed, and a spokesperson for the Regional Health Ministry in Madrid said the National Microbiology Center is working to establish a final diagnosis.
The United Kingdom announced on Monday that it had discovered four more cases of monkeypox, bringing the total number of infections in the country to seven. The first case was discovered in the UK on 4 May.
In Portugal, five cases of monkeypox were found, with another 15 people tested. The national authorities said that the condition of all those infected was stable, and that all 20 cases were among men living in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.
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Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches, according to the CDC. After one to three days of fever, monkeypox patients can develop a facial rash that then spreads to other parts of the body in the form of lesions that later fall off, the organization says.
The incubation period for monkeypox is usually seven to 14 days, but can range from five to 21 days.
PHAC says the virus is usually transmitted from animals to humans, but human-to-human transmission can occur “through contact with body fluids, lesions on the skin” or through mucous and respiratory droplets.
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