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Getting Answers: monkeypox case in Massachusetts

Getting Answers: monkeypox case in Massachusetts
Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Massachusetts public health officials have confirmed a case of monkeypox - the first in the country. The infected person is a man who recently traveled to Canada and this is leading to questions about the virus and if it poses a risk to the public.

“This is a virus that gives you an infection that can give you a rash and the more systemic symptoms are very similar to the flu,” said Dr. Esteban Delpilar, an infectious disease with Baystate Health.

According to state health officials, they are conducting an investigation in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out where he might have contracted it, but Delpilar told us this case poses very little risk to the public.

“This seems to be your run-of-the-mill monkeypox that’s not that transmissible. Unless you’re in contact with certain animals, your chances are almost zero. Getting it from another person is really, really unlikely,” Delpilar noted.

Delipilar said symptoms may include a flu-like illness, tired, achy, fever, lymph-node swelling, and a rash on the face and body. He told us there was a monkeypox in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

“If you go back to 2003, there was a little bit of an outbreak here in the United States, about 19, not even 20, cases that was associated with those who came into contact with these animals that were coming in from Africa,” Delpilar noted.

He said those who were infected were mostly children and recovered well due to having the smallpox vaccine and he does not see this new case spreading further.

“Travel is the most common way that we see monkeypox being spread outside of the African continent…We really haven’t seen much of it outside of the African continent,” Delpilar added.

Delpilar also encouraged people to talk to their doctor about any concerning symptoms that they might have.