Health officials are now in the process of contact tracing with employees, patients and visitors, added Shenoy, who’s the associate chief of MGH’s Infection Control Unit.
The virus does not spread easily between people. Transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
Texas and Maryland each reported a case last year in people who traveled to Nigeria. So far this month, the U.K. has identified nine cases of monkeypox; the first case had recently traveled to Nigeria.
None of the other cases has reported recent travel. U.K. health officials report that the most recent cases there are in men who have sex with men.
“Many of these global reports of monkeypox cases are occurring within sexual networks,” Inger Damon, director of CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said in a statement. “However, health care providers should be alert to any rash that has features typical of monkeypox. We’re asking the public to contact their health care provider if they have a new rash and are concerned about monkeypox.”
Clinicians should consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with an otherwise unexplained rash and who traveled, in the last 30 days, to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox; report contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox; or is a man who reports sexual contact with other men.
“We urge health care providers, particularly those in outpatient settings, to remain vigilant to potential cases and to take any necessary precautions,” said Sarimer Sanchez, medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Infectious Diseases Bureau.
Precautions for health care workers include wearing gowns, gloves and face masks.
Sanchez added, “A key thing that we’ve learned is to be humble and also to remain vigilant.”
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