12:07 PM PDT, July 17, 2021
The last reported monkeypox case in the United States was in 2003. Still, a Dallas, Texas, resident who just returned from Nigeria has tested positive for the virus.
According to the Dallas County health department press release, the person traveled from Nigeria to Love Field airport on July 9, 2021. They are in the hospital and are in stable condition. For the patient’s safety, no further details about their condition or location will be released.
“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.
They add that since travelers on that flight were required to wear masks due to COVID-19, the risk of spreading monkeypox via respiratory droplets to other passengers on that plane or in those airports is low.
The virus is rare and similar to smallpox, but officials say not to be concerned.
“We have been working closely with the CDC and DSHS and have conducted interviews with the patient and close contacts that were exposed,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Phillip Huang said.
“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.”
In 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first human case of monkeypox was recorded. In 2003, the virus landed in the U.S., and there were 47 human cases reported.