What is monkeypox, the rare virus now confirmed in the U.S. and Europe?

CDC and Massachusetts health officials investigating monkeypox case

The agency said in a statement on Wednesday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is cooperating with Massachusetts health officials in its investigation of the monkeypox case.

State health officials announced earlier in the day that a case of monkeypox had been confirmed in a Massachusetts man who had recently traveled to Canada.

Dr Paul Biddinger, Chief Preparedness and Sustainability Officer at Mass General Brigham, said during a news briefing that the patient has been hospitalized in stable condition at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The patient has been in an airborne infection isolation room since last Thursday.

"Fortunately, this patient is doing quite well now, although he has symptoms that require hospitalization," said Dr. Erica Shenoy.

Biddinger said they are not sure how the patient became infected, but emphasized that "historically, this has been a very rare disease with very rare transmission around the world.

He said current patients "pose no public health risk," adding people "should be aware of the symptoms but not be afraid."

Shenoy, medical director of the Region 1 Emerging and Special Pathogens Treatment Center, said the patient has a West African strain of monkeypox, which is considered less severe.

Shenoy said that health officials are doing contact tracing for the patient.

Canadian health officials said the Public Health Agency of Canada had not reported any cases of monkeypox.