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First Probable Cases of Monkeypox Reported in Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – Fort Bend County Health and Human Services is investigating the first probable cases of monkeypox in Fort Bend County. The residents have been in contact with someone who may have been exposed to the virus. The suspected cases are being monitored and are isolating in their respective homes.

The FBCHHS Epidemiology Division received preliminary positive results on July 13 and 14 from the Houston Health Department Laboratory. Samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Laboratory for confirmation. Fort Bend epidemiologists are conducting contact tracing to identify potential exposure based on proximity and behavior that would increase the risk of transmission of the disease.

“The confirmation of monkeypox in Fort Bend County is something we take seriously, and our Health and Human Services Department has been prepared to respond to an occurrence since the virus was first found in the U.S. earlier this year,” said Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George. “We will continue to keep residents informed and encourage them to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC and our local health authority.”

Health officials have identified individuals who have had direct contact with the patients and are monitoring them for symptoms and infection. The patients have not been hospitalized, are isolated and recovering at home and do not pose a known risk to other at this time.

“We began working closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services once we were notified about a possible case from a local physician,” said FBCHHS Director Jacquelyn Minter. “During the course of our investigation, we have discovered there is minimal risk to the public. We are pleased that our medical community is being vigilant to this evolving outbreak of monkeypox cases across the globe.”

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The virus is spread when a person comes in contact with an animal, human or material contaminated with the virus. The virus enters through broken skin, respiratory tract or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth). Human-to-human transmission occurred primarily through direct contact with skin lesions or close contact with large respiratory droplets.

While monkeypox is a rare disease and confirmed cases are isolated, FBCHHS says it is important for those traveling where monkeypox outbreaks are occurring to take measure as outlined by the CDC to prevent infection. In addition to refraining from close contact with those known to be infected with the virus, other measures include avoiding contact with animals that could harbor the virus, avoiding contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick person and wearing PPE when caring for persons who are infectious.


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