Monkeypox

The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) have each confirmed their first monkeypox cases, according to news releases the organizations provided last weekend.

The city announced its first confirmed case last Saturday afternoon in a resident with a recent history of international travel. Shortly thereafter, HCPH announced its first confirmed infection in an out-of-state resident who had since left the county and returned to his or her home state.

Both local health authorities said the general public remains at a low risk for monkeypox, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

The city said monkeypox typically begins as a flu-like illness such as fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills and exhaustion, along with swollen lymph nodes, before developing into a rash that starts on the person’s face and spreads to other parts of the body. It can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, according to the city. 

According to HCPH, monkeypox is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal. It can also be transmitted from person to person by inhaling large respiratory droplets or through close contact with body fluids and lesions as well as bedding and other contaminated materials.

“While the current risk of monkeypox infection in our community is low, we urge residents to be vigilant and seek medical attention if symptoms consistent with monkeypox do occur,” HCPH director Erika Brown said.

More information about monkeypox can be found at dshs.texas.gov/IDCU/disease/Monkeypox.aspx and cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html.

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