Health officials in Austin have confirmed the city’s first monkeypox case.
The City of Austin initially issued a press release last Friday alerting residents that a prospective case had been discovered.
“Austin Public Health (APH) is awaiting results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm a presumptive case of monkeypox in Travis County,” it read.
On Thursday, June 30, the City released an update to its initial announcement, stating the case had been confirmed.
The resident is quarantined at home and does not need to be hospitalized, the release read. Epidemiologists from APH are tracing contacts and notifying everyone who came into direct contact with the infected resident.
The patient had a close encounter with an individual from out of state who is also being examined for possible monkeypox infection.
Monkeypox cases are uncommon and difficult to spread without close contact with infected individuals, according to the announcement.
“While the threat of monkeypox remains low, we recommend that all Travis County residents be aware and seek medical care if you believe you have symptoms of the virus,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County’s health authority in last week’s release.
“While our local healthcare providers are working with epidemiologists to monitor the virus, the community should continue the hygiene practices we know work such as handwashing and minimizing skin-to-skin contact, especially with those showing rashes or sores,” she added.
In the follow-up announcement, APH noted it is now investigating an additional five presumptive cases in Travis County. However, initial investigation indicated that these five individuals did not travel internationally, the health department said.
Walkes commented on Thursday, “This spread of monkeypox within our community is concerning. Anyone who believes they may have symptoms of the virus should reach out to a medical provider immediately.”
The monkeypox virus spreads mainly through close contact with infected wounds, scabs, or bodily fluids, according to health officials. It can also be transmitted to a fetus during pregnancy or via respiratory secretions during extended face-to-face contact such as intercourse, kissing, or cuddling.
Fever, exhaustion, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headache are symptoms of the virus, followed by a rash that turns into lesions.
Locally, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed its second and third cases of monkeypox last week following the individuals’ return from international travel, as reported by The Dallas Express. Neither person presented a risk to others, according to the agency, and both were isolated in their homes.
The first case of monkeypox in Texas was reported in early June. The individual was also a resident of Dallas County who had traveled internationally.
As of Thursday, the CDC was tracking at least 396 monkeypox cases in the U.S. and at least 10 cases had been confirmed in Texas.