A case of monkeypox was confirmed Thursday in a Philadelphia resident, making it the first in all of Pennsylvania, city health officials said.
Nationally, 10 states have now confirmed cases of the disease, which is spread through person-to-person contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Initial symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Back ache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within one to three days of developing a fever, an infected person “then develops a rash, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.” The infection usually lasts two to four weeks.
“In humans, symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion,” the CDC says on its website. “The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) whereas smallpox does not.”
The disease has spread across the world in an unusual pattern, according to the CDC, leading the agency to begin heightened monitoring of its spread.
“The CDC is closely monitoring monkeypox cases that have recently been reported in several countries that do not normally have monkeypox activity, including the United States,” the federal agency says on its dedicated webpage for the sickness.
In Africa, the disease has been shown to kill one in 10 patients, according to the CDC.
“The threat to Philadelphians from monkeypox is extremely low,” Dana Perella, manager of the Philadelphia Department of Health’s acute communicable disease program, said in a statement Thursday. “Monkeypox is far less contagious than COVID-19 and can be brought under control, particularly when prompt care is sought for symptoms. The vaccine to prevent or lessen the severity of the disease is available from the CDC for high-risk contacts of people infected with monkeypox, as is antiviral treatment for patients with monkeypox. I believe residents and visitors should feel safe doing all the fun things Philadelphia has to offer, with the proper precautions. »
The current global outbreak was first confirmed in a British citizen on May 6, the city said in its statement. Since then, cases have been confirmed in 29 other countries.
Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease
“The Department of Health strongly recommends that anyone with symptoms of an unexplained rash on the face, palms, arms, legs, genitals, or perianal area may be accompanied by a flu-like illness to contact their regular health care provider as soon as possible,” the city said in its statement.
No details have been released about the Philadelphia infection, other than that the person is a resident of the city.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health did not respond to a request for additional information about the case.