Monkeypox infection suspected in New York City; US pharma stocks rally

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NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - A possible case of monkeypox is being investigated in New York City, adding to the case already reported in Massachusetts, health officials said on Thursday (May 19).

The city's health department announced on Twitter that the patient is being cared for at Bellevue Hospital, located in Manhattan's Kips Bay neighbourhood.

Preliminary tests for the virus are being conducted, officials said, and if positive will be sent to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.

On May 17, the US identified its first case this year, adding to the growing number of confirmed and suspected infections in the UK, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The Massachusetts Health Department reported on Wednesday the case of an adult male who had recently travelled to Canada, where more than a dozen monkeypox infections have been identified.

The man travelled via private transportation, according to the CDC, which said it is working with Massachusetts health officials on monitoring the situation.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that usually begins with flu-like symptoms before progressing to a rash, which could be confused with sexually transmitted infections like syphilis or herpes.

Infections usually last from two to four weeks, according to the CDC.

Shares of companies that develop or make therapies to combat viral outbreaks, such as SIGA Technologies Inc and Emergent BioSolutions Inc, rallied on Thursday as news of an increasing number of monkeypox cases emerged.

SIGA, a biological warfare defence firm, rose 17 per cent after rallying as much as 32 per cent in its biggest intraday jump since 2016 when fears of Zika contagion were roiling the market.

The company won US regulatory approval for a liquid form of its smallpox capsule today. The treatment, dubbed Tpoxx, is approved in Europe for use in monkey pox and was cited in a recent budget request to treat a US patient with the disease, the company sai...

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