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Dallas County reports state’s first monkeypox case

June 7, 2022 GMT

DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas County resident has contracted the first case of monkeypox reported in Texas, state and county health officials revealed Tuesday.

A test for the viral disease came back positive for monkeypox, and the patient is isolated at home, officials said in separate statements.

A few people had been exposed to the patient, whom officials are not identifying, and are monitoring themselves for symptoms, according to the statements. The patient also had recently traveled internationally, and officials are trying to contact passengers who had flown with the patient on a recent flight from Mexico to Dallas for monitoring.

Monkeypox is a rare disease from the same virus family as smallpox. In recent weeks, health authorities in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia have identified more than 100 cases of the disease outside of Africa, where it has long been endemic. While the spread of monkeypox is serious and a cause for concern, experts believe the risk to the general public remains low.

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Health officials say the illness does not now present a risk to the general public.

People who get monkeypox should be isolated to slow the spread of the disease. Fortunately, the existing smallpox vaccine works against monkeypox, meaning vaccination is another way to protect populations. Most people recover within two-to-four weeks without needing hospitalization. However, monkeypox can be fatal in up to 6% of cases.

To the best of current scientific knowledge, monkeypox is spread through very close contact with an infected person, their clothing or their bed sheets. Sexual contact may amplify transmission.