The most recent figures on cases of monkeypox in Texas were published by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on Friday.
DSHS reported that 183 Texans had been diagnosed with monkeypox, with 89 of those cases occurring in the region of North Texas, which has the most documented cases in the state. Though infection rates are rising, Texas does not have the country’s highest number of infected. New York (900), California (356), Illinois (238), Florida (247), and Georgia (211) are the top five hotspots, according to the CDC.
WFAA reported that one of those monkeypox cases has now been confirmed as a female patient. However, the DSHS director of media relations told The Dallas Express that “there is some additional testing going on to confirm that case, so we’re not including it in our count just yet.”
The majority of cases discovered so far — 97% to 98% — involve men who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors and/or have sex with other men. But anyone who has had close contact with someone who has monkeypox runs the risk, not just those in the LGBTQ community, according to DCHHS.
Dallas County provides more public information on confirmed monkeypox cases on its website. The CDC’s website has more details about the disease.
Although more cases are being recorded in the state, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) noted that “the threat of monkeypox to the general Dallas County population remains low.” Monkeypox is an uncommon disease that is difficult to spread between humans without direct, close skin-to-skin contact.
Health officials indicate that the monkeypox virus mainly spreads through direct contact with infected wounds, scabs, or bodily fluids. It can also spread to a fetus during pregnancy or through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, such as sexual activity, kissing, or cuddling.
Individuals infected with monkeypox may initially display symptoms including bodily pains, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes before eventually developing skin lesions after a non-contagious incubation period of one to two weeks.
“The general population shouldn’t be worried, but certainly people who might have high-risk exposure and things like that should be thinking about it and doing what they can to monitor and prevent further spread,” stated Philip Huang, M.D., M.P.H., the director of DCHHS.
As far as a vaccine for monkeypox, people can only receive vaccinations after being exposed to the disease, according to the CDC. For the highest probability of successfully deterring infection, the CDC advises administering the vaccine within four days after the date of exposure.
The county health department is anticipating a shipment of nearly 300 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, which allegedly helps prevent monkeypox and smallpox. However, Huang is not certain when the vaccines will arrive. As of July 25, there has not been an update on whether the shipment has been delivered.