NEW YORK (AP) – New York City public health officials said Thursday they’re investigating a potential case of monkeypox, a rare virus rarely seen outside of Africa that can cause flu-like symptoms.
The possible infection in New York comes as European and U.S. officials have identified a small number of monkeypox cases in recent days. Authorities are investigating potential infections in the Montreal area, while Massachusetts officials are investigating whether a monkeypox infection in the state is linked to U.K. outbreaks.
Officials at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the patient is being cared for at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. The city’s Public Health Lab will send preliminary tests to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
City epidemiologists will then follow up with people who may have been in contact with the patient.
The virus originates in primates and other wild animals, and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe cases can develop rash and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.
Monkeypox can be fatal for up to one in 10 people, with children potentially facing more severe infections. People exposed to monkeypox typically receive a smallpox vaccine.