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Texas surpasses 1,000 monkeypox cases

Of those cases, 529 have been reported in the Houston region as of Tuesday, August 23.

TEXAS, USA — Texas has reached more than 1,000 monkeypox cases — 1,281 to be exact as of Tuesday, August 23, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Of those cases, 529 have been reported in the Houston region.

Harris County Public Health and the Houston Health Department are still doing what they can to stop the spread by working to get more doses of the vaccine. 

Last week, the city and the county received a total of 10,000 additional monkeypox vaccine doses. The shipment is not what health officials expected, but they hope it will help over 5,000 people in our area.  

RELATED: Houston, Harris County receive 10K additional monkeypox vaccines

Health officials warn the virus does not discriminate.

"Remember from COVID, the virus doesn't really care. It takes advantage of an opportunity to spread and it will continue to do that," said Houston Health Department's Dr. David Persse. "So, right now it's the men who have sex with men community because that just happens to be where it started. But we really need to try to curtail the spread of the virus in our community."

RELATED: Monkeypox: Track Houston area, local counties and Texas case numbers; get answers to common questions

Right now, Houston-area health officials are trying to balance three things at once:

  • Trying to prioritize those most at risk 
  • How much vaccine the area has
  • The demand

Health officials said they are able to serve the demand at the time, but that of course could change.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions from the Centers for Disease Control.

Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?

The latest Texas Department of State Health Services criteria for others who are eligible now includes these people:

  • People with a known or possible exposure to the Monkeypox virus remain the highest priority for vaccination.  

For people 18 and older the list includes: 

  • Men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners within the previous 21 days;
  • Have a sex partner who is showing symptoms of monkeypox, such as a rash or sores;
  • Have had a diagnosis of HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis, within the previous 12 months;
  • Are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis;
  • Have a condition that may increase their risk for severe disease if infected with monkeypox virus, such as HIV, atopic dermatitis or eczema.

How does monkeypox spread?

  • The disease, which can cause a serious skin rash, appears to be spreading largely via direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person.
  • Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs or bodily fluids like saliva.
  • It can also be transmitted with prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets.  
  • Pregnant women can transmit the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
  • At this time, it's not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids. However, the DSHS says the majority of Texas cases, so far, involve men who've had sex with other men.

Monkeypox symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills 
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash that looks like pimples or blisters; the rash often appears first on the face and/or inside the mouth and then on other parts of the body.

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