A New York City patient tested positive for a family of viruses that monkeypox belongs to, health officials said Friday, but it was still unclear if the person was infected with the rare disease.
Two patients had been under investigation by the city’s health department for possibly carrying the virus, which has been spreading around the western world “within sexual networks”, according to officials.
One possible case of monkeypox in the city was ruled out, while the other person tested positive for “Orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs,” the health department said in a statement.
The patient was in isolation and presumed to be positive while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines if the person does indeed have the virus. Local health officials are carrying out contact tracing in the meantime, they said.
Health officials said masks were effective at preventing the spread of monkeypox, which produces skin lesions and leaves patients with flu symptoms.
“As a precaution, any New Yorkers who experience flu-like illness with swelling of the lymph nodes and rashes on the face and body should contact their health care provider,” New York City health officials wrote in a press release.