NEW YORK – On Wednesday, Massachusetts reported a rare case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada, and health officials are investigating whether it is due to small outbreaks in Europe.

Smallpox is usually confined to Africa, and rare cases in the United States and elsewhere are usually associated with travel there. A small number of confirmed or suspected cases were reported in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain this month.

U.S. health officials said they were in contact with officials in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation. But “at the moment we have no information linking the Massachusetts case to cases in the UK,” said Jennifer McQueston of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although this is the only case in the U.S. that the CDC is aware of, “I think we are preparing for the possibility of new cases,” she said.

The U.S. case poses no risk to the public and a Massachusetts resident is hospitalized but in good condition, officials said.


The man traveled to Canada in late April to meet with friends, and returned in early May, McQueston said. A CDC statement said he used private transportation.

This is the first case in the US this year. Last year, Texas and Maryland reported a case of people traveling to Nigeria.

Monkeypox usually begins with flu-like illness and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. In Africa, people become infected through the bites of rodents or small animals, and it is not usually easily spread among humans.

However, investigators in Europe say most cases have been gay and bisexual, and officials are considering the possibility that some infections spread through close contact during sex.

Smallpox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people are cured of monkeypox within a few weeks, but according to the World Health Organization, the disease kills up to 1 in 10 people.



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