TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) – Bell County Public Health District has reported the first confirmed case of Monkeypox in Bell County.
The Bell County Public Health District is working with local healthcare providers to investigate this initial confirmed case of monkeypox virus infection in a Bell County resident with recent travel within the state. The patient is isolated and recovering at home.
The public health investigation has identified close contacts who may have been exposed and they are being monitored and evaluated. The illness does not currently present a risk to the general public.
There are now 338 cases in the state including most recently in McLennan County with the vast majority of these cases in the age group from 18 to 39.
“As the number of new cases across the country and in Texas continues to rise, the health district is working closely with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) and our local health care partners to identify potential cases and limit the spread, ” said Amy J. Yeager, District Director.
Monkeypox is an infection caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same class of viruses that causes smallpox and vaccinia, but not chickenpox.
Symptoms of monkeypox infection include fever, chills, headache, muscle ache and backache, and swollen lymph glands, followed by a rash 3-5 days after the fever starts. They may also experience respiratory symptoms (eg, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough). Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.
If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later. The rash may start anywhere on the body, but most commonly starts on the face.
However, with the current outbreak, the rash often starts in the genital area. The rash can look like pimples or blisters. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
The primary way people become infected with Monkeypox is through close, personal contact with an infected person, including sexual contact.
It can also be transmitted from person to person by inhaling large respiratory droplets or through close contact with body fluids and lesions, as well as contaminated materials (eg, clothing or bed linens, and by sharing eating utensils or cups, cigarettes or vaping devices, kissing, and other activities where saliva might be exchanged with a person who has monkeypox).
People should try to avoid skin-to-skin contact with strangers, especially those who have a rash or whose health history is unknown.
Pregnant people can also spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact.
“Even though this current outbreak is fairly specific, it is important for the community to understand the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, what to do if they develop symptoms, and know how the disease transmission occurs,” said Amy J. Yeager, BCPHD Director. .
In most cases, the infection clears up without specific treatment, but persons who are immunosuppressed, who are living with HIV, or who are pregnant are at higher risk of complications.
Children under the age of 8 are also at higher risk of more severe disease.
The best way to help stop further spread of this disease is to quickly identify anyone who is infected and their contacts.
If you think you may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, you may be a candidate for a vaccine.
The vaccine is most effective if given within 4 days of exposure but can be given up to 14 days after exposure.
If you develop any of the symptoms described above, please contact your health care provider or the Bell County Public Health District immediately to receive instructions of what to do next at (254) 939-2091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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