Texas health officials have reported what is believed to be the state’s first-ever case of monkeypox.
According to Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS), a resident tested positive for the disease after returning from a trip to Nigeria last week. The Texas resident has since been isolated at a hospital and remains 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 in a statement Friday. “Dallas County Health and Human Services is working closely with local providers, as well as our state and federal partners.”
DCHHS says the patient had flown from Nigeria to Atlanta before reaching their final destination on July 9 in Dallas. Officials are now working with airlines to track down passengers and others who have been in contact with the patient during their travels; However, experts say the case doesn’t pose a major threat to the public.
“We have been working closely with the CDC and DSHS and have conducted interviews with the patient and close contacts that were exposed,” said DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang. “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.”
According to the CDC, was first discovered in 1958 in an animal facility in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first human infection was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The agency says the main disease carrier of monkeypox remains unknown, but experts believe rodents and other small mammals play a role in transmission to humans and monkeys.