NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is investigating a possible monkeypox case.

A patient being treated at Bellevue hospital could potentially have a rare illness.

Outside of Africa, cases of monkeypox are relatively rare, but right now, there are about a hundred suspected or confirmed cases in eight countries outside Africa, including the United States.

There are currently six Americans being monitored by the CDC for the illness. They were all on the same flight as a British person who tested positive for monkeypox earlier this month.

The disease is similar to chickenpox and smallpox but less contagious, according to the CDC.

The virus starts out with a fever and a rash, usually on the face, but it spreads. Muscle and backaches follow, along with chills and extreme fatigue.

Most people recover in less than a month, but it can be fatal in up to 6% of the people who contract it.

Some of the recent spate of cases have been among gay men.

There were only two cases of monkeypox recorded in the US last year.

RELATED | 1st monkeypox case in US this year reported in Massachusetts, health officials confirm

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