New Yorker Tests Positive for Possible Monkeypox Virus

New York City public health officials announced Thursday that they are investigating two potential cases of monkeypox.

A New York City resident has tested positive for the family of viruses that monkeypox belongs to, according to a statement released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene late Friday. The Department also tested another case, which has been “ruled out.”

Officials said the patient is isolating in the Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. The city’s Health Department is carrying out contact tracing and is waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm whether the case is monkeypox.

Monkeypox was first discovered in lab monkeys in Denmark in 1958, according to information published on the CDC website in 2015. The first human cases were recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during efforts to eliminate smallpox in the region.

Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified about 80 confirmed cases worldwide and 50 more suspected ones. The recent outbreaks in 11 countries, the WHO says, are “atypical” as they are occurring in “non-endemic countries.”

The CDC says that many cases of monkeypox are spread through sexual contact between men and that “a man who regularly has close or intimate contact with other men, including through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party” should contact their healthcare provider.

“A notable proportion of early cases detected have been in gay and bisexual men and so UKHSA is urging this community in particular to be alert,” reads a news story on the UK government website.

On May 18, a resident in Massachusetts also tested positive for monkeypox after returning to the United States from Canada, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two other travel-associated cases were discovered in 2021, with both cases involving a person returning from Nigeria to the United States.

CDC has called the reemergence of monkeypox a “global health security concern.”