(NewsNation) — New York City’s Health Department is investigating a possible case of monkeypox in the city, with a patient being kept in isolation at Bellevue Hospital.
If tests come back positive, they will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm if the man has monkeypox.
Monkeypox, which is typically limited to Africa and rare in the U.S., has been in the headlines lately after Massachusetts on Wednesday reported a case of monkeypox in a resident who traveled to Canada. More than 100 cases of the viral infection have recently been reported in countries outside of Africa.
Usually, this virus spreads from rodent to human — but this recent cluster of cases seems to indicate human-to-human transmission.
According to the CDC, Monkeypox can also be spread through respiratory droplets, close contact, and via contaminated surfaces. Much of this new cluster of cases appears to be the result of direct sexual contact between men.
The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting Friday to discuss these cases.
Monkeypox typically doesn’t spread as easily as a virus like COVID-19, making this group of cases unexpected.
“It is unusual to see an outbreak of monkeypox,” Dr. Anthony Harris, CEO and medical director at HFit Health.
But that’s a line many Americans heard during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now going into its third year. Public health guidance changed early and often, undoubtedly sowing doubt in the minds of many.
A January poll from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center showed trust in the CDC was slipping at the start of the year. It fell from 77 to 72%.
And the agency has been attacked over shifting vaccination and masking recommendations.
There is one major difference when it comes to the two viruses, though. COVID-19 was brand new, while Monkeypox has been studied since 1958.
There are also already vaccines and anti-virals that can be used to treat monkeypox.