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Monkeypox in the USA (Maryland), ex Nigeria

18 Nov 2021

On 16 November 2021 the Maryland Department of Health reported a case of monkeypox in a Maryland resident who recently returned from Nigeria. The patient is not seriously ill and is currently recovering in isolation.

Monkeypox is an uncommon infection caused by the monkeypox virus. It occurs mainly in forested areas of Central and West Africa. Most infections result from direct contact with infected animals. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people but it is possible to catch it from having close contact with an infected person or  touching their personal items. Symptoms of monkeypox are usually a high temperature (fever) and a flu-like illness followed by a skin rash.

Advice to Travellers

It is rare for travellers to become infected. If you are travelling to Central and West Africa, you should:

  • practice careful hand hygiene if visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives
  • avoid contact with primates and rodents and avoid eating undercooked meat from these animals
  • wear protective clothing, including gloves, if you are involved in the slaughter or care of animals in these regions

A vaccine against monkeypox is not widely available.