Monkeypox Case Reported in Philadelphia, 1st Confirmed for Pa.

The first confirmed case of monkeypox, a disease similar to smallpox that is spread by person-to-person contact, was reported Thursday in Philadelphia. It's also the first confirmed case for Pennsylvania.

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A case of monkeypox was confirmed in a Philadelphia resident Thursday, making it the first in all of Pennsylvania, city health officials said.

Nationally, 10 states have now confirmed cases of the disease, which is spread by person-to-person contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Initial symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Within one to three days of developing a fever, an infected person then "develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body." The infection usually lasts two to four weeks.

"In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion," the CDC says on its website. "The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not."

The disease has been spreading across the globe in an unusual pattern, according to the CDC, which has led the agency to begin a heightened monitoring of its spread.

"CDC is closely tracking cases of monkeypox that have been recently reported in several countries that don’t normally have monkeypox activity, including the United States," the federal agency says on its webpage dedicated to the disease.

In Africa, the disease "has been shown" to cause death in as many as one in 10 patients, the CDC says.

“The threat to Philadelphians from monkeypox is extremely low,” Philadelphia Health Department Acute Communicable Disease Program Manager Dana Perella said in a statement Thursday. “Monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19 and is containable particularly when prompt care is sought for symptoms. Vaccine to prevent or lessen the severity of illness is available through the CDC for high-risk contacts of persons infected with monkeypox, as is antiviral treatment for patients with monkeypox. I believe that residents and visitors should feel safe to do all the fun things Philadelphia has to offer, with the proper precautions.”

The current global outbreak was first confirmed in a British citizen on May 6, the city said in its statement. Since then, cases have been confirmed in 29 other countries.

Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease

"The Health Department strongly recommends that anyone who is experiencing symptoms of an unexplained rash on their face, palms, arms, legs, genitals, or perianal region that may be accompanied by flu-like illness should contact their regular healthcare provider as soon as possible," the city said in its statement.

There were no details released about the Philadelphia infection, other than noting that the person is a city resident.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health did not respond to a request for more information about the case.

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