NEW YORK - Two more people have tested positive for orthopoxvirus, the virus that causes monkeypox, in New York City bringing the total number of cases in the city to four.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced the additional cases on Wednesday.
"Two more people have tested positive for orthopoxvirus in NYC, which is presumed to be monkeypox. We will be conducting contact tracing and monitoring and will refer people for care if necessary. Monkeypox is rare in New York City but we can prevent the spread."
The rare virus is seldom seen outside of Africa and can cause flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes followed by rash on the face and body. Symptoms appear seven to 14 days after infection
According to the DOHMH, the following people may be more likely to have been exposed to monkeypox:
- Those who recently traveled to Portugal, Spain, the UK, Canada or Central or Western African countries.
- Men who have sex with men, or anyone with close social or physical contact with others.
The country's first monkeypox case of 2022 was confirmed in Massachusetts last month. The patient had recently returned from Canada. As of Tuesday, there were 18 confirmed cases of monkeypox within nine states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel alert level to 2 due to rising cases around the world. Level 2 calls for practicing enhanced precautions when traveling to affected countries.
Monkeypox virus: What to know
Monkeypox, which is caused by a virus that is in the same genus of viruses that causes smallpox, is very rare in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first human case of the disease was recorded in a country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then, the disease has been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Cases have also been reported in the U.S., as well as a number of Asian, Middle Eastern, and European countries.
"Monkeypox does not occur naturally in the United States, but cases have happened that were associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common," the CDC states on its website.
What is monkeypox?
Dr. Purvi Parikh, an expert on infectious diseases, explains the risks of monkeypox.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
According to CDC's website, it takes usually seven to 14 days from the time of infection for a person to start feeling symptoms of the disease, but the incubation period can also range from five to 21 days.
The illness, according to the CDC, begins with:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
"In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion," the CDC states. "The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not."
Can you die from monkeypox?
According to WHO, the fatality rate for monkeypox varies between zero and 11% in the general population. The rate is higher among young children.
How does monkeypox spread?
CDC officials say monkeypox is spread when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus.
"The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth)," a portion of the website reads.
CDC's website states that human-to-human transmission of monkeypox "is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets," but other human-to-human transmission include "direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens."