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Monkeypox in Texas: Kids likely 'safe' this Fall, symptoms explained

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 23:17:01-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Brazos County Health District is responding to its first confirmed case of Monkeypox.

In a public address, Dr. Seth Sullivan confirmed that said patient tested positive after visiting a close personal contact in Dallas.

At this time, the health district believes that the virus is being primarily spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact.

As of July 28, the BCHD says vaccine orders have been filled and are on their way to the county.

However, health officials clarified that they are unsure when said vaccines will arrive.

Upon arrival though, the health department clarified the vaccines will be distributed to those "most at risk."

Such as individuals with confirmed exposure to the virus and multiple sexual partners.

Within Texas Region 7, there has been a total of 41 confirmed cases.

This region includes 30 counties across Central Texas and the Brazos Valley, including Brazos, McLennan and Travis County.

Sullivan also clarified the "tell-tale" signs of monkeypox, such as how to tell the difference between a lesion or regular acne.

"Monkeypox will appear more so in clusters, like traditional chickenpox, than say a stand-alone pimple on your face."

Sullivan noted that like chickenpox, the lesions appear to be "raised up", leak fluid and scab over time as depicted in most photographs of the disease.

Regarding diagnosis, Sullivan stated that due to a lack of vaccines, those experiencing Monkeypox will likely have to "suffer it out."

An anti-viral called Tecovirimat is already in existence, however, unlike the vaccine, it is not FDA-approved and only authorized via physician under the Compassionate-use Act.

Sullivan said both can help patients from experiencing more severe symptoms.

However, the more severe symptoms, including skin lesions, are reported to be healing in patients "just fine."

"It won't be gone in a few days, but after a week, two weeks, it appears most patients are fully recovering," Sullivan said.

Sullivan also noted that as of this afternoon, no cases of Monkeypox within the state have required any hospitalizations.

Addressing audience questions, Sullivan clarified that Monkeypox is not believed to be spread through casual contacts, such as brief hugs while fully clothed.

But rather, through direct skin-to-skin contact, primarily right before and during an infected individual produces skin lesions.

The likes of which, Sullivan said are not particularly "itchy," but rather painful and throbbing like a flesh wound.

Sullivan also noted that its spread is not exclusive to sexual contact like an STI, stating it can spread to unborn babies in mothers and through touching recently infected surfaces.

In theory, Sullivan said Monkeypox is "unlikely" but still "possible" to spread through shared surfaces like public toilet seats.

However, at this time, experts are still unsure how long the virus can live on surfaces.

Sullivan noted that skin lesions tend to appear a few days following the onset and passing of flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms he said "likely" tend to show up within a week to two weeks of exposure, but could take as long as three weeks in theory.

However, the virus is not believed to be spread through water like public swimming pools or theme park rides.

Regarding children, Sullivan stated that he believes "we're not going to see" an uptick in Monkeypox in children when school resumes this Fall.

He cited the "notable lesions" of Monkeypox, lessons he believes will ultimately prevent it from spreading as rapidly as the stealthier Coronavirus.

Sullivan concluded by saying that experts are still "optimistic" that Monkeypox can be fully-contained - much unlike COVID-19, which continues to report higher numbers across Texas.