Many people in Dallas assumed there would be no more deadly viruses in the city. After all, over 65,000 throughout the lone star state of Texas have died during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, The World Health Organization issued a statement confirming the presence of Monkeypox in Dallas from a traveler who visited Nigeria. Quoting a report by the WHO which reveals the details of the case:
"The case-patient traveled from the USA to Lagos State, Nigeria on June 25 and stayed in Ibadan, Oyo State, from June 29 to July 3. He developed self-reported fever, vomiting, and mild cough on June 30 and a painful genital rash on July 7. The case-patient returned to the USA, departing Lagos on July 8 and arriving on July 9. He developed a facial rash the next day. On July 13, the patient attended a local hospital; fever was documented, and he was immediately placed under isolation. A sample of a skin lesion was taken, and on July 14, an Orthopoxvirus was confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) by Dallas County. On July 15, the patient's skin samples tested positive for the West African clade of monkeypox virus via RT-PCR conducted at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) Poxvirus and Rabies Branch Laboratory. The patient is currently hospitalized."
The CDC worked in collaboration with airlines and government officials to monitor airline passengers who may have been exposed to the infected traveler. According to media reports, the traveler departed Lagos on July 8 and then flew from Atlanta to Dallas on July 9. But thankfully, due to mask mandates and other public health measures, the risk to travelers on those flights was low.
According to the CDC, Monkeypox is an uncommon but potentially fatal viral infection that starts with flu-like symptoms and lymph node swelling, then develops to a broad rash over the face and body. It's extremely painful, and the majority of infections last between two and four weeks.
It's worth noting that laboratory testing of the infected traveler revealed that the patient was infected with a mutation of monkeypox that is most widespread in regions of West Africa, including Nigeria and surrounding countries. This specific strain kills about 1% of people. However, the mortality rate in people with weakened immune systems is significantly higher. At the time of writing, no other cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed in the Dallas metro area.
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This article has been updated on October 7 to reflect emerging details of the case. The risk to Americans from the Monkeypox case is now over. However, you should still consult a doctor if you are feeling unwell.
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