Health officials announced on Tuesday that they have identified 14 cases of monkeypox in Collin County; the virus continues to spread across North Texas and the nation in general.
Collin County Health Care Services (CCHCS) has contacted the infected individuals and have made efforts to contact people with whom they have been in contact.
County officials said on August 9 they are prepared to vaccinate residents who wish to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine for monkeypox as soon as additional vaccines have been delivered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Despite the news, Collin County Judge Chris Hill assured residents that the county does not have a public health emergency in relation to the monkeypox virus.
Collin County Public Health Director Candy Blair echoed Hill’s sentiments in a statement saying, “At this time, Collin County does not need to issue a Disaster Declaration. Our health department is well-positioned to respond to the current monkeypox situation.”
While authorities at Collin County attempt to calm fears surrounding the virus, federal authorities declared a public health emergency on Thursday, August 4, to help respond to the monkeypox outbreak, according to previous reports on The Dallas Express. Over 7,000 thousand Americans had been infected at the time of the declaration.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, while addressing the emergency declaration, urged Americans to “take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus.”
On Monday, August 8, the United States recorded 1,424 monkeypox cases, the highest total since the outbreak began in May. According to The Daily Mail, the latest figure brings the country’s total to 8,934– putting the U.S. on track to be the first nation to reach 9,000 cases.
In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern, a category reserved for the most severe global disease outbreaks.
The CDC said the virus can spread to anyone through close, personal, and often skin-to-skin contact. The contact can happen during intimate contact, including “oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of an infected person,” per CDC. The virus can also be spread through hugging, massage, and kissing.
A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from when symptoms start until the rash has completely healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks, according to CDC.