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APH: First presumptive case of monkeypox identified in Travis County

(NIAID)

A presumptive case of monkeypox has been detected in Travis County and is awaiting test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Austin Public Health said Friday.


APH, the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services are involved in an ongoing investigation into the case. The resident who is presumed positive is isolating at home and did not need hospitalization. APD said it is conducting contact tracing and reaching out to people who were in close contact with the resident.

Monkeypox, a rare disease caused by infection in the smallpox family, has been under close watch by the CDC after a world outbreak this year. If positive, the case would be the first of its kind in Travis County. At least five monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Texas, while the CDC is investigating 173 cases nationwide.

As of Monday, APH did not have a timeline on how long testing could take.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever and chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and a distinctive pimple-like rash that can appear on the face, inside the mouth, or on other areas of the body. The rash can take several weeks to heal.

While monkeypox can have symptoms that resemble COVID, the virus does not transfer as easily as COVID and its variants.

APH said the virus can spread through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

To limit the spread of monkeypox, APH said to minimize skin-to-skin contact, especially with someone who has been exposed to the virus and/or is showing symptoms. APH recommends avoiding contact with anything that has been in contact with monkeypox and continuing to practice good hygiene.

"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,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said.

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