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New York state officials investigate case of suspected monkeypox

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New York state health officials are investigating a potential case of monkeypox after a patient tested positive for the family of viruses associated with the rare illness, officials announced late Friday.

The unidentified patient is isolating and treating the case as positive while awaiting confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City public health officials said earlier they were investigating two potential cases of monkeypox, a virus rarely seen outside of Africa that can cause flu-like symptoms.

Testing ruled out one case, the state Health Department said.

"The other was positive for orthopoxvirus and had an illness consistent with monkeypox," the department said.

City epidemiologists have begun reaching people who may have been in contact with the person.

The possible infection in New York comes as the World Health Organization has identified about 80 cases globally, and roughly 50 more suspected cases.

Health officials in Massachusetts confirmed its first case of monkeypox on May 18.

The virus originates in primates and other wild animals, and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe cases can develop rash and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.

Anyone can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items like clothing and bedding that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox, the CDC said.

Monkeypox virus can also spread between people through respiratory droplets typically in close settings, the CDC said. Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.

MORE: Monkeypox symptoms: The 7 early signs to look for

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