AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a case of monkeypox, a cousin to smallpox, was confirmed in the United States Wednesday, information on the disease has been widely searched.
The first case was confirmed in Massachusetts, and a possible case was reported in New York City.
Rodney Rohde, the regents’ professor of clinical laboratory science at Texas State University, said monkeypox is not a new disease.
“The first confirmed human case was in 1970 when the virus was isolated from a child suspected of having smallpox in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Monkeypox is unlikely to cause another pandemic, but with COVID-19 top of mind, fear of another major outbreak is understandable,” Rohde said.
During a discussion with KXAN, Rohde said monkeypox is primarily transmitted through contact, but it is not as transmissible or deadly as people might think.
“The symptoms typically are flu-like—so fever, fatigue, those types of things,” Rohde said. “You can also have, after one to two weeks, these pustules, which will start developing, and that is one of the primary ways you can transmit it.”
Rohde said he and most other experts were not at an alarmed status for this outbreak.
“It’s just unusual because we’ve seen about 80 confirmed cases in 11 countries. There’s still about 50 pending cases to be confirmed—and it’s clustered, so we’re seeing them around different areas,” Rohde said.