McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Mexican health officials are reporting the first potential case of monkeypox in the northern border town of Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.

The Mexican state of Tamaulipas and the local border area now are on high alert and the Mexican government has activated health biosecurity protocols, according to a statement issued by the Tamaulipas Secretary of Health Office.

The Laredo Morning Times reports this is one of three potential cases in Nuevo Laredo. The other two are family members of the suspected infected patient, a 21-year-old stay-at-home mom who sought medical attention on June 7 at the Mexican Institute of Social Security. All three are being monitored for symptoms.

Symptoms include fever, itching and skin lesions. It can spread through direct contact with the infectious rash or body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Tuesday, the CDC reports there are 72 cases of monkeypox reported in the United States, including one case in Texas.

(Graphic from CDC website)

Worldwide there are 1,879 monkeypox cases reported in 35 countries, according to the CDC. This includes five cases in Mexico.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday told media the agency is investigating a possible death from monkeypox in Brazil.

“The global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning,” Ghebreyesus said.

Ghebreyesus added that the agency is “working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus,” and is expected to announce the new name soon.

The WHO says racist and discriminative comments have been tied to the term “monkeypox,” which was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.

An Emergency Committee meeting of WHO is scheduled for next week.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com