AUSTIN (KXAN) — After testing, state health officials said at least 12 cases of monkeypox have been discovered in Texas so far. Some of these patients have not traveled out of state recently.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday while the first cases were patients who traveled abroad, at least three patients said they had not traveled in the three weeks before falling ill. This means they were likely exposed to the virus in the state.
On Tuesday, Austin Public Health said it was monitoring several potential cases in the community. The first case of monkeypox was confirmed in Travis County on Thursday after the suspected case was reported in the area last week.
The DSHS said symptoms of monkeypox begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash that looks like pimples or blisters may appear soon after the first symptoms appear.
Monkeypox can be spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids such as saliva.
DSHS said “many cases of monkeypox in the current outbreak have been in men who have sex with men, but anyone who has direct skin contact or kisses an infectious person could contract the virus.”
Doctors should report all potential cases to their local health department, which can help the patient’s close contacts receive the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine can prevent people from getting the disease if given within four days of exposure, the DSHS said. On Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to provide vaccines across the country to those who need them.