Public health investigation finds monkeypox cases spread in Texas
Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 30, 2022
The Texas Department of State Health Services and local health departments have identified multiple cases of monkeypox in Texas in people who did not travel outside the state.
Public health testing has found a total of 12 monkeypox cases in Texas residents.
While the first cases involved international travel, three patients report that they did not travel in the three weeks before becoming sick, meaning they were exposed in Texas.
“With the sharp increase in monkeypox cases worldwide, it’s not surprising to see the virus spread in Texas,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, chief state epidemiologist. “We want people to know what the symptoms are, and if they have symptoms, to avoid the types of close contact with other people that can spread the disease.”
Monkeypox is a viral illness that starts with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Soon after, a rash that can look like pimples or blisters appears. The rash often appears first on the face and inside the mouth and then spreads to other parts of the body.
People who develop a rash should avoid direct contact with other people and contact their health care provider as soon as possible for next steps. Clinicians should consider monkeypox when they see patients with compatible symptoms and promptly report all suspected cases to their local public health department.
Notifying the health department about suspected cases will help in testing and allow public health to determine whether anyone who had close contact with the patient should get the monkeypox vaccine.
If given within 4 days of exposure, the vaccine can prevent people from getting sick with the disease. Health departments can work through DSHS to request doses of the vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile.
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs or bodily fluids like saliva.
It can also be transmitted with prolonged face-to-fact contact via respiratory droplets. Many of the monkeypox cases in the current outbreak have been among men who have sex with men, but anyone who has direct skin contact with or kisses someone who is infectious could contract the virus.
People can find more information on monkeypox at dshs.state.tx.us/IDCU/disease/monkeypox/monkeypox/.