A Presumed Case Of Monkeypox Detected In Maryland

A resident has mild symptoms and is not hospitalized.

Baltimore, Md. (KM) – The Maryland Department of Health has reported the first presumed case of human monkeypox in the state. An adult in the National Capital Region is believed to have contracted this disease. That person has mild symptoms and is recovering in isolation.  The person is not hospitalized.

The Health Department says this is a presumed case of monkeypox, and it’s waiting for confirmation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which causes a skin rash. . “Monkeypox initially causes symptoms like fever, chills and new swelling at the lymph nodes,” says Dr. David Blythe, a medical epidemiologist with the Maryland Department of Health. “And it typically causes a distinctive rash with  bumps that often start on your face and spread to other parts of the body.”

He also says this illness is not easily spread between people. “It can be spread between people through direct contact with those skin lesions; through contact with body fluids from a person who has the monkeypox infection; or contact with contaminated materials like clothing and linens,” he says.

Most people who contract monkeypox usually recover without any treatment. “And there’s no specific treatment for monkeypox that’s been proven to be effective. However, there are antiviral medications that can be used if a person has a severe illness and requires hospitalization for that severe illness,” says Dr. Blythe.

The Maryland Department of Health says the risk of human transmission of this virus remains low, but the public is strongly encouraged to stay alert for the symptoms of this illness and seek medical care immediately. Dr. Blythe says  residents who have traveled to central or  west African counties and Europe, where there have been confirmed cases of monkeypox,  need to be aware of any symptoms, along with those who have had close contact with persons who have monkeypox a month before their symptoms began. “People who have close or intimate in-personal contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity which for now includes men who have sex with men,” he says.

Residents can find out more about monkeypox by visiting the Maryland Department of Health website at health.maryland.gov/monkeypox.

The Health Department says this is not the first case of monkeypox in the state. One was recorded last year.

The World Health Organization is working on coming up with a new name for this virus.

By Kevin McManus