Possible monkeypox case linked to patient at New York City hospital

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is investigating a possible case of monkeypox, a rare virus rarely seen outside of Africa that can cause flu-like symptoms.

The NYC DOH tested specimens from two patients -- one ended up being negative, and the other came back positive for a virus consistent with monkeypox. The official confirmation will come from the CDC.

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 said the patient is being cared for at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, and the city's Public Health Lab will send preliminary tests to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Monkeypox is harder to contract than COVID, as it requires close contact or the sharing of bodily fluid.

The symptoms include fever and rash, muscle aches, and chills.

Worldwide, it is deadly in 3& to 6% of cases, though the death rate is less than 1% in areas with quality healthcare.

This is the largest outbreak outside of Africa, and if follows a confirmed case in Massachusetts.

The virus is endemic in Central and West Africa and is rarely seen outside of the continent.

Usually, the cases are related to travel, but many of the recent cases in Europe in North America are in people without recent travel, meaning the virus is spreading locally.

Still, doctors say there is no need to worry, but instead urged residents to be aware.

"It's primarily spread by very close contact," epidemiologist Dr. Jay Varma said. "It can be spread through the air, but unlike COVID, which can spread over a long range and hang around in the air for a long time, we don't believe that is true with this virus."

Health officials are contact tracing in hopes of limiting the spread.

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