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First Case of Monkeypox Appears in Texas After International Flight, Authorities Scrambling to Find Anyone Else with It

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Monkeypox has been introduced into Texas, according to health officials who say the rare disease is not a threat to the general public.

Dallas County Health and Human Services said that the person who is infected with the disease arrived in Dallas on July 9, according to KDFW-TV. The individual, whose trip originated in Lagos, Nigeria, on July 8, then arrived in Atlanta from Nigeria and went on to Dallas, according to CBS.

The federal Centers for Disease control and Prevention is now contacting others on the flights.

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The individual is in isolation at a local hospital and is reported in stable condition, the person who tested positive is now isolated at the hospital to prevent the spread of the virus and is in stable condition.

“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Jenkins noted that travelers would have been wearing masks to conform with coronavirus regulations.

“It’s believed the risk of spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports is low,” he said.

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Local health officials also said the risk to the general public is minimal.

“We have determined that there is very little risk to the general public. This is another demonstration of the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure, as we are only a plane ride away from any global infectious disease,” county health service director Dr. Philip Huang said.

The county health service said it believes this to be the first monkeypox case in Texas.

“We have confidence in the federal, state, and local medical professionals who are working to ensure that this virus is contained and that the patient is treated with the utmost care. The City of Dallas stands ready to assist their efforts in any way necessary,” Mayor Eric Johnson said.

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The Federal Centers for Disease Control said monkeypox “was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’”

“The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries,” according to the CDC.

The CDC said that symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and swelling of the lymph nodes.  A rash and lesions are the most visible signs that a person has the disease. A patient with monkeypox is ill for a period of between two and four weeks, according to the CDC. The CDC said that in Africa, the disease can kill 10 percent of those infected.

A 2003 outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. that infected up to 47 people in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin was eventually linked to people who had purchased prairie dogs as pets, according to the CDC. The prairie dogs had been infected by African rodents.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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