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A New York City patient tests positive for viruses linked to monkeypox and officials are urging people to wear masks

A patient in New York City has tested positive for a virus linked to monkeypox, prompting health officials to urge Covid-weary Americans to wear face masks indoors as the US rushes to buy 13 million doses of the vaccine.

Two patients had been tested by the city’s health department for monkeypox – a rare infection that causes rashes, lesions and fever that has flared up suddenly in several countries in recent weeks.

One of the patients was ruled out as negative, while the second tested positive for orthopoxvirus, the virus family that includes monkeypox.

The Public Health Lab of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a news release Friday that final confirmation of the person’s diagnosis will come after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) completes its testing.

Until then, the patient is in isolation and is believed to be positive, making it likely the second known case on US soil this year after a man in Massachusetts became the first confirmed case on Wednesday.

The New York City Health Department announced on Thursday that a possible symptomatic case had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital in the heart of Manhattan.

It’s not clear if this person is the suspected positive or negative case, but even before preliminary tests came back, officials said contact tracing was already underway to trace anyone who may have come into close contact with them.

The CDC is urging Americans not to panic. The New York City Health Department is recommending that Manhattan residents dress up indoors.

The agency said masks can protect against monkeypox as well as other viruses such as Covid-19, while anyone with flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and rashes on the face and body is urged to contact their doctor.

Health officials are desperate to avoid a repeat of the Covid-19 crisis that has crippled the city’s healthcare system.

In the early days of the spring 2020 pandemic, New York City quickly became the global virus epicenter, with 815 deaths in a single day in April of this year.

Hospitals were on the verge of collapse as medical staff were overwhelmed with sick patients and bodies piled up in refrigerated trucks across the city.

Cases of Covid-19 are rising again in Manhattan, with all of New York City rising to its highest risk level for the virus this week.

At least six other possible cases of the infection are also being investigated by the CDC after they were seated near an infected passenger on a flight from Nigeria to the UK earlier this month.

The entrance to Massachusetts General Hospital, where the first confirmed US patient is being treated for monkeypox

(REUTERS)

The CDC said none of the six people showed symptoms of monkeypox. They are considered healthy and have a low risk of infection.

The New York patient does not appear to be among the six.

This comes after a Massachusetts man became the first confirmed case on US soil this year.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the case of the man, who recently returned from a trip to Canada where he traveled on private transportation on Wednesday.

The patient is in good condition at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The state agency said there was “no risk to the public” and it was working closely with the CDC and other health officials to identify anyone who may have come into contact with the patient while he was contagious.

While monkeypox is less contagious and rarer than Covid-19, US officials are not waiting for cases to rise before taking action.

The US government has placed a $119 million order with Bavarian Nordic for the Jynneos vaccine, which is effective against both the monkeypox virus and smallpox, the biotech announced this week.

Another $180 million is also ready and waiting for more vaccines, if or when needed, giving the country a total of 13 million doses to procure.

CDC official Jennifer McQuiston said that “the general public shouldn’t be concerned” about the sudden surge in infections with the rare disease, but acknowledged that “this is a very unusual situation.”

“Monkeypox is usually only reported in West Africa or Central Africa and we don’t see it in the United States or in Europe – and the number of cases reported is definitely outside of normal levels for what we would see.” ‘ she told CNN.

“At the same time, there really aren’t that many reported cases — I think maybe a dozen, a few dozen — so the general public shouldn’t be concerned that they’re at immediate risk of monkeypox.”

Since early May, the World Health Organization has started holding daily emergency meetings around the world as cases have emerged in several countries that do not normally report infections.

In addition to the US, cases have now been detected in Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden, with more than 100 cases now confirmed or suspected across Europe.

It is not yet clear how the individuals were exposed to the rare infection.

The virus can spread through close contact with an infected person or animal via respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, or other forms of close contact such as sharing clothing.

Experts are currently investigating possible sexually transmitted spread after recently confirmed cases included men who said they had been sexually active.

Symptoms are said to resemble smallpox and include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue.

After about one to three days of fever, the patient typically develops a rash on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. Lesions on the body go through different stages before eventually falling off.

The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox, according to the CDC, is that monkeypox causes the lymph nodes to swell.

In most cases, symptoms are mild, but the virus has been fatal in about one in ten cases in Africa.

Monkeypox was first detected in monkeys in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease were detected in specimens kept for research.

The first human case was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

In 2003, human cases of monkeypox — the first confirmed cases outside of Africa — were discovered on US soil as the nation witnessed an outbreak in six states.

A total of 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

All of the patients contracted the infection after exposure to prairie dogs kept near imported small mammals from Ghana, according to the CDC.

Two cases of the infection were reported in the United States last year. The last was in November, when an American tested positive after returning to Maryland from Nigeria.

Another case was confirmed in Texas in July in a US citizen who had also traveled on two commercial flights from Nigeria to the US.

In both cases, no additional infections were found in the United States after health officials conducted contact tracing.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/monkeypox-new-york-city-virus-masks-b2084287.html A New York City patient tests positive for viruses linked to monkeypox and officials are urging people to wear masks

Bobby Allyn

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