A Texas man infected with monkeypox has escaped from a hospital in Mexico and fled the country, health authorities confirmed.

The 48-year-old man, originally from Texas, was being treated at a hospital in Puerto Vallarta, on the Mexican Pacific coast, Agence France-Presse reported. Medical staff were keeping the man in isolation while awaiting the result of a monkeypox test when he decided to flee. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is currently spreading throughout the world. Until now, it was generally only recorded from areas of West and Central Africa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising infected people to isolate themselves from others, similar to guidelines put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main source of transmission is thought to be through direct physical contact, however there is evidence that the virus can also be transmitted through the air. The man’s symptoms on arrival at the hospital included chills, cough, injuries to his face and neck and muscle pain, according to the state health department.

Once he escaped from the hospital, AFP reported that the man went to a hotel to meet his partner, before taking a flight on June 4 from Puerto Vallarta. On June 6, the CDC confirmed to Mexican authorities that the man had returned to the US. A subsequent monkeypox test confirmed he was positive for the virus. While in Mexico, the man had gone to parties at the Mantamar Beach Club, while in the state of Jalisco, according to Al Arabiya News. The man had arrived in Mexico on May 27. From May 12 to 16 he had been in Germany, Al Arabiya News reported. Before traveling, he had been to his hometown in Texas. In recent weeks, more than 1,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 29 countries, according to CDC data. Scientists still know little about the virus and the cause of the recent outbreak. Experts believe that, at the moment, it is not as transmissible as other viruses, such as COVID-19. There are some indications that it can be sexually transmitted, however this requires further investigation.

The virus is not considered particularly dangerous for healthy people, although it can cause complications in children and pregnant women. It’s not yet clear how many new cases will emerge following the Texas man’s escape. The virus usually has an incubation period of up to three weeks, and the illness itself lasts two to three weeks. Authorities are warning anyone who attended the same club as the Texas man between May 27 and June 4 to watch out for symptoms, Al Arabiya News reported.

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