A New York patient has tested positive for a family of viruses that includes monkeypox, health officials said Friday, but it was still unclear if the person was infected with the rare disease.
Two patients had been investigated by the city’s health department for possibly carrying the virus, which has spread in the Western world “within sexual networks”, officials said.
A possible case of monkeypox in the city has been ruled out, while the other person tested positive for “orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs,” the health department said in a statement.
The patient was isolated and presumed positive while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines whether the person does indeed have the virus. Local health officials are doing contact tracing in the meantime, they said.
Health officials said the masks were effective in preventing the spread of monkeypox, which produces skin lesions and leaves patients with flu-like symptoms.
“As a precaution, any New Yorker who experiences a flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes and rashes on the face and body should contact their healthcare provider,” officials wrote. New York Health in a press release.
“Monkeypox is rare but can be spread through close contact with an infected person or animal. This includes via respiratory droplets – usually after prolonged contact – bodily fluids or other forms of close contact, such as sharing clothing or other materials that have been used by an infectious person.
The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting on Friday after more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases were identified in Europe, as well as cases in Canada and Australia.
The virus was first identified in monkeys and rarely spreads outside of Africa, making the latest surge of cases alarming for health officials.
The first signs of the new outbreak began on May 7 when a man who had been in Nigeria tested positive for the virus in England.
Officials in England and Portugal have said most patients in their countries are men who have sex with other men.
The cluster of cases has been classified as an epidemic, according to Dr Fabian Leendertz, an epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute.
“However, this outbreak is highly unlikely to last long. Cases can be isolated well via contact tracing and there are also effective drugs and vaccines that can be used if needed,” he said.
With post wires