New York investigating possible monkeypox case: 6 updates

New York health officials on May 19 said they are investigating a possible monkeypox case in a patient who is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, The New York Times reports. News of the potential infection comes a day after a case was confirmed in Massachusetts. 

Health authorities in New York City said patient samples will be sent to the city's public health lab for a preliminary test and if positive, additional samples will be sent to the CDC to confirm the results. Investigators are also trying to identify people who were recently in contact with the patient at Bellevue. 

Five more updates:

1. On May 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed a case of monkeypox in a traveler who returned to the U.S. from Canada, marking the U.S.' first case this year. State health officials at the time said the patient was hospitalized and in "good condition." 

2. Canada is investigating more than 15 suspected cases in and around Montreal. The CDC is also tracking clusters of monkeypox cases "in several countries that don't normally report monkeypox, including Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom," the agency said in a May 18 statement. Sweden and Italy on May 29 each reported their first cases, according to the Times

3. The CDC said the cases it is tracking "include individuals who self-idenitfy as men who have sex with men." The agency is urging U.S. healthcare providers to be alert of rashes with features typical of monkeypox, "regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors." 

4. Two monkeypox cases were confirmed in the U.S. in 2021, one in Maryland and one in Texas. Both of those individuals had recently traveled to Nigeria. 

5. The illness is in the same family of viruses as smallpox but typically causes a milder infection that lasts two to four weeks. An infection typically starts with flulike illness, followed by a widespread rash on the face and body. Monkeypox can be spread through respiratory droplets in a close setting as well as contact with body fluids, sores or contaminated items such as shared clothing or bedding. 

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