Monkeypox cases still in isolation

·2 min read

Sep. 23—The number of monkeypox cases diagnosed in Texas had risen to 2,195 as of Friday, but no additional patients have been diagnosed in Ector County since Sept. 16.

The Ector County Health Department announced one probable case and one confirmed case last week and they remain in isolation, said Director Brandy Garcia.

Monkeypox symptoms usually show up within four days of exposure and because the patient went to their doctor immediately upon the onset of symptoms and then isolated, "there was a very minimal window of potential exposure so we didn't feel there was a significant risk to the community," Garcia said.

Monkeypox patients must isolate for 28 days, Garcia said.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the disease is spread when someone has direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person. Most cases so far have been among men who have sex with men, but people can also get it from sharing cups, utensils, bedding or towels with infected patients.

DSHS would like people to avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large groups where people are wearing minimal clothes, such as nightclubs, festivals, raves and saunas.

Symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, because the monkeypox virus is closely related to the smallpox virus, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox. The agency also said studies have shown when patients get the smallpox vaccine after being exposed it can help prevent the disease or make it less severe.

Most of the cases in Texas are in Public Health Regions 2/3, which includes Abilene, Wichita Falls and Arlington and Public Health Regions 6/5S, which includes Houston.

Ector County is in Public Health Region 9 /10, which is comprised of 36 counties in West Texas. A total of five monkeypox cases had been confirmed as of Friday.