Monkeypox NYC: Patient tests positive for virus

 New York City resident has tested positive for the virus that causes monkeypox, state health officials announced late Friday.

The unidentified patient is isolating and treating the case as positive while awaiting final confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control.

"All the appropriate isolation protocols are being followed," the Health Department said in a statement. "The Department’s epidemiologists will follow up with any individual who may have been in contact with the patient while infectious."

New York City public health officials said Thursday they were investigating two potential cases of monkeypox, a rare virus rarely seen outside of Africa that can cause flu-like symptoms.

Testing ruled out the other case, the state Health Department said.

The country's first monkeypox case of 2022 was confirmed in Massachusetts this week. That patient had recently returned from Canada.

New York state and city officials will try to determine how the New York patient was infected. City epidemiologists have begun reaching people who may have been in contact with the person.

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 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:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

"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."

NYC Health Monkeypox Statement

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is investigating a possible case of Monkeypox in New York City. The patient is being cared for at NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue. 

All the appropriate isolation protocols are being followed. The Health Department's Public Health Lab will conduct preliminary tests, which — if positive — will be sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. 

The Department's epidemiologists will follow up with any individual who may have been in contact with the patient while infectious. 

Monkeypox is uncommon in the U.S., but — in the rare circumstance where a positive case is identified — usually presents as a flu-like illness accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes and followed by rash on the face and body.