AUSTIN (KXAN) — After testing, state health officials said at least 12 monkeypox cases were found in Texas so far. Some of those patients haven’t traveled outside of the state recently.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday while the first cases were patients who traveled internationally, at least three patients reported they didn’t travel in the three weeks before getting sick. That means they were likely exposed to the virus in the state.
On Tuesday, Austin Public Health said it was monitoring several potential cases in the community. On Thursday, the first monkeypox case was confirmed in Travis County after the presumed case was reported in the area last week.
DSHS said monkeypox symptoms begin with a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash that looks like pimples or blisters may appear soon after the initial symptoms.
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs or bodily fluids like saliva.
DSHS said “many of the monkeypox cases in the current outbreak have been among men who have sex with men, but anyone who has direct skin contact with or kisses someone who is infectious could contract the virus.”
Doctors should report all potential cases to their local health department, which may help close contacts of the patient get the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine can prevent people from getting sick with the disease if it’s given within four days of exposure, DSHS said. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to provide vaccines across the nation to those who need them.