Hours after the Houston Health Department confirmed the first local case, Harris County said it also confirmed a case in an out-of-state visitor.
HOUSTON – Two cases of monkeypox have now been confirmed in the Houston area, one of which was just reported by Harris County Public Health.
HCPH said its confirmed case involves a visitor from another state, who has since returned home. A team from HCPH is working with the individual to identify others who may have been exposed.
“While the current risk of monkeypox infection in our community is low, we urge residents to be vigilant and seek medical attention if symptoms consistent with monkeypox occur,” said Dr. Ericka Brow, Director of the Community Health and Wellness Division.
Earlier in the day, the Houston Health Department announced a confirmed monkeypox infection in a Houston resident who had recently traveled overseas.
The Houston patient developed symptoms after returning from the trip and has mild illness, according to the health department. The resident did not require hospitalization and is in home isolation.
Health Department epidemiologists will contact people who had direct close contact with the person while infectious.
No further details have been released due to privacy laws.
These are the first confirmed cases of monkeypox here. Only one other case has been reported in Texas.
Monkeypox usually begins with a flu-like illness such as fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills and exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. One to three days after the onset of fever, a rash develops – often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.
The threat of monkeypox in Houston remains low. Monkeypox is rare and not easily transmitted between people without close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
It can also spread from person to person through prolonged direct contact or close contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
Contact with objects such as clothing or linens that have already touched the rash or bodily fluids is another way monkeypox is spread.
The illness lasts two to four weeks. It can spread from the time symptoms appear until the rash heals completely and a new layer of skin forms.
The only other confirmed case in Texas was a man from Dallas who traveled to Berlin, Germany and then to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
When he started reporting symptoms there, he refused to self-isolate and returned to Texas anyway, according to health officials in Mexico. He would have returned to Dallas on June 4.
People planning international travel can view the CDC’s current recommendations regarding monkeypox and other communicable diseases for their intended destinations at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.