First cases of monkeypox confirmed in Bexar County, Metro Health says

The threat to the community remains low

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. Thousands more doses of monkeypox vaccine are expected to soon begin shipping to the U.S. after federal health officials said Wednesday, July 13, 2022, that they had completed an inspection of the overseas plant where they were manufactured. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File) (Uncredited)

SAN ANTONIO – Two people in Bexar County have tested positive for monkeypox, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

They are the first confirmed cases here but Metro Health says the threat to the community still remains low.

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Both of the individuals are isolating and are following the recommended protocols. Metro Health has also notified their close contacts.

As of Wednesday, Texas has reported 42 cases of monkeypox.

Austin has 6 confirmed cases and 7 presumptive cases.

The rare viral disease involves “skin lesions in the genital, groin, and anal regions” that could be confused with rashes caused by herpes and syphilis, according to health officials.

Other symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and backache, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.

“With increased cases occurring nationwide and across the state, we have been actively monitoring this situation,” said Metro Health Director Claude A. Jacob in a news release. “Because the disease does not easily spread from person-to-person without direct contact, the chance of exposure to the public is minimal. We encourage residents to be aware of the symptoms, follow prevention recommendations, and consult with a healthcare provider when needed.”

Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, according to the CDC.

It can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, especially with a rash, scabs or by sharing body fluids with someone who has the viral disease.

“Additionally, touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox or close contact with respiratory secretions can transmit the disease,” Metro Health said in a release.

To help curb the spread of monkeypox, Metro Health recommends the following:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large crowds where people are wearing minimal clothing (such as nightclubs, festivals, raves, saunas, and bathhouses).
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with a new, unexplained rash.
  • If you were exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Healthcare providers can provide testing and care for people with monkeypox.
  • If sick with monkeypox, isolate at home until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed. Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting infection that does not require hospitalization.

Supplies of the vaccine against monkeypox are limited, including in Bexar County. Health officials said vaccination is only being offered to people identified as contacts during case investigations.

You can learn more about monkeypox here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.