First cases of monkeypox identified in Bexar County

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District as the public health agency serving the City of San Antonio and Bexar County has confirmed two cases of monkeypox.  Both individuals are currently isolating, following all recommended guidance, and all close contacts have been notified. As of yesterday, Texas has 42 cases of monkeypox reported.

Currently, risk to the public remains low. Individuals should be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox and seek medical attention if they experience new, unexplained rashes or skin lesions.  Recently identified cases have involved skin lesions in the genital, groin, and anal regions that might be confused with rashes caused by common diseases such as herpes and syphilis.  Other early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, 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. “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 can spread to anyone through skin-to-skin contact, especially direct contact with a rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.  Additionally, touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox or close contact with respiratory secretions can transmit the disease.  This contact can happen during oral, anal, and vaginal sex or while touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.

To prevent the spread of monkeypox, individuals can:

  • 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 at this time. Currently in Bexar County, vaccination is being offered only to people identified as contacts during San Antonio Metropolitan Health District case investigations. More information about monkeypox and how to prevent infection can be found on the CDC Monkeypox website (cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox).