Monkeypox cases spreading among residents in Texas, health departments’ investigation finds

HOUSTON – The Texas Department of State Health Services and local health departments have found multiple cases of monkeypox in Texas residents who did not travel outside the state, according to a release.

Officials said public health testing has found a total of 12 monkeypox cases in Texas residents. While the first cases involved international travel, three patients report that they did not travel in the three weeks before becoming sick, meaning they were exposed in Texas.

Three cases have already been reported in Houston, according to Houston Health Department. The first two cases were confirmed on June 18. The department said although the three cases were linked to international travel, there are no known connections between the three.

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“With the sharp increase in monkeypox cases worldwide, it’s not surprising to see the virus spread in Texas,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, chief state epidemiologist. “We want people to know what the symptoms are, and if they have symptoms, to avoid the types of close contact with other people that can spread the disease.”

Monkeypox typically begins as a flu-like illness with individuals having a fever, rash, or swollen lymph nodes. The illness lasts two to four weeks, and it can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

The health department says anyone who develops these symptoms should isolate themselves from others to prevent or minimize the risk of spreading the illness to others and seek medical attention to be evaluated for potential testing.

People can find more information on monkeypox at dshs.state.tx.us/IDCU/disease/monkeypox/monkeypox/. People planning international travel can review the CDC’s current recommendations for monkeypox and other communicable diseases for their intended destinations at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.

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