Monkeypox Case Reported in Dallas, Texas

Posted on July 16, 2021

The CDC has reported a case of monkeypox in a traveler arriving in Dallas from Nigeria. The traveler arrived in Dallas on July 9th and has been hospitalized in Dallas. This is the first known monkeypox virus infection in Texas.

WFAA is reporting that health officials say there is "little risk to the public." This is certainly true if the outbreak is quickly contained. Contact tracing will be needed to prevent additional cases. The disease spreads via respiratory droplets so anyone with close contact with the patient is at risk if they were not protected with masks and gloves.

The CDC says, "People infected with monkeypox can spread the virus to others through the air when they cough, sneeze, or talk. The body fluids and skin sores of a person infected with monkeypox are also infectious."

The rare disease has been infecting humans more frequently since 2017. Outbreak News reports that there were 6,257 suspected cases in the DRC in 2020 with 229 deaths (3.7% CFR). There have been over 1,500 cases already this year.

There was an outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. in 2003 but the spread was from animals to humans. Human-to-human spread would be a different type of outbreak than what the U.S. saw in several Midwest states in 2003.

Monkeypox symptoms start with a fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes according to the Outbreak News. There are likely to be additional imported cases from Africa in other countries with the ongoing outbreak in Nigeria and the DRC.

Here's a "what you need to know" video about monkeypox from WFAA with virologist Dr. Ben Neuman who says it should really be called squirrelpox. He says it can be fatal in up to 10% off cases and can cause damage to the eye. He says it has been on virologists' lists of potential viruses to worry about. He says masks should help reduce transmission and masks were required on the planes the infected traveler was on.

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