As an update to Austin Public Health’s (APH) initial announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing has confirmed Travis County’s first monkeypox case. APH Epidemiologists have completed an investigation and are conducting contact tracing of people who had direct close contact with the resident while contagious.
The resident continues to isolate at home. APH is also investigating five presumptive cases who have symptoms that are consistent with monkeypox. Initial case investigations indicate these persons did not have a history of international travel.
“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,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “This virus is predominantly spread through close, intimate contact with others. You should avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone showing rashes or sores.”
Monkeypox is rare and does not spread easily between people without close contact. The virus can be transmitted by person-to-person contact including:
- 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.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands/palms, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox:
- Minimize skin-to-skin contact, especially if a person has been exposed to the virus, showing a rash or skin sores.
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with monkeypox.
- Practice good hand hygiene. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for people infected with monkeypox.
As of Thursday, the CDC is tracking at least 396 monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases in the U.S. At least 10 cases have been confirmed in Texas.