A person has tested positive for the disease monkeypox after recently traveling in West Africa. This is Maryland’s second case of monkeypox this year. That patient — identified by medical sources as a 50-year-old man from Reisterstown — is being treated in an infectious disease isolation unit at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
“This case is of particular concern because the recent travel history of the patient to West Africa and the possibility that the virus could be airborne highlights the importance of thorough hand washing, even when away from health care facilities,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the monkeypox vaccine is safe and effective, it doesn’t work on everyone. To date, the vaccine has only been approved for adults over 18 who have shown symptoms.
There is no cure for monkeypox, which is spread through the respiratory system and has no vaccine. It is among the most common infections in animals, with cases climbing exponentially following West Africa’s 2014 Ebola outbreak. While it is difficult to identify and eradicate, there have been no cases of human-to-human transmission since 2016.
The Reisterstown patient traveled to Guinea from Nigeria on Sept. 1 and returned to the U.S. on Sept. 4, according to a public health notice from Maryland public health officials. The CDC has not explained where the person had come into contact with monkeys or chimpanzees before arriving in the U.S. In Guinea, they travel to a local park called Damboa or a camp called Babouya where the Monkeypox virus may have been transmitted. The CDC has not released any other details on how the patient came into contact with monkeys or chimpanzees and, as of Friday, did not confirm who were their contacts.
As of Friday, the USDA had not confirmed where the symptoms of the monkeypox began.
This report was updated at 10:32 a.m. to include information about Friday’s update.
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