Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Austin-Travis County Health Department Dr. Desmar Walkes issued an order Tuesday to declare monkeypox a public health emergency in Travis County.
Adler said the orders were issued primarily to raise awareness of the disease in the community so that people “can adjust their behavior to limit the potential for spread and transmission in the community.”
There are now 68 confirmed and probable monkeypox cases in Travis County. A confirmed case is one confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while a probable case is someone who has tested positive but has not been confirmed by the CDC. The first case in Travis County was investigated on June 23, and the number of cases has increased every week since then.
“It started as isolated incidents through certain social communities, but now it’s clear that it’s spreading throughout communities,” Adler said.
Texas now has 702 cases, including nine in women and two in children. All the cases in Austin are in men, Walkes said. One person was admitted to a local hospital for pain management.
There have been 8,934 cases of monkeypox in the United States, the most of any country ever. Last week, the White House also declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
About 80% of the tests sent out by Austin Public Health come back positive, Walkes said.
Monkey pox is sexually transmitted, but it is not an STI.Why call it a problem.
More local resources are being sought
Adler said another reason for issuing the emergency order is to queue up more resources and cover the cost of those resources when they become available.
“We hope this declaration will help Travis County and Austin get more resources, especially vaccines, testing and faster testing, which we don’t have enough of right now,” Brown said.
Austin Public Health applied to the state for vaccines and drugs and received more than 3,000 doses of the two-dose vaccine and some drugs to treat the disease, but as the disease spread, “we got to a point where we ran out of that stuff,” Walkes said.
Walkes said the vaccine is actually the smallpox vaccine, which has long been used for this purpose. Walkes said it was produced in Denmark and there was not enough vaccine in the United States when this outbreak began. Adrienne Sturrup, director of Austin Public Health, said last week that larger shipments are not expected to arrive in the United States until September.
Austin Public Health tests, treats and vaccinates people, Walkes said, but “those resources have become less and less because of the outbreak in our community.” “We’re here today to declare this a state of emergency, as has been done by the federal government, to ask the community that our resources are being used more so that we as a community do what we know we can do to prevent it from spreading around the world. community.”
These include washing hands, avoiding skin contact and covering your skin whenever possible, he said. People who are sick or have a rash should stay home until they recover, which could be three to four weeks, Walkes said.
How monkey flower spreads
Monkey flower spreads like this:
- Infectious rash, itching or direct contact with body fluids.
- Respiratory secretions from face-to-face contact during activities such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. “Masking is important,” Walkes said.
- Touching items such as clothing or linens that have previously touched infectious rashes or body fluids.
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
“The virus spreads when we don’t take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves,” Walkes said. If we do what we need to do to protect ourselves, we will be able to continue our lives in a safe situation, he said.
“With colleges, universities, schools and festivals happening this fall, it’s important that everyone knows the signs of monkeypox and do what we can to slow its spread,” Brown said.
Local viruses:Austin monkeypox cases rise as COVID-19 cases decline slightly
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkey pox may include:
- Muscle aches and back pain.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Don’t get cold.
- A rash that may look like acne or blisters. It can be on the face, mouth, and other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
People should monitor themselves and their children for any of these symptoms and stay out of public until diagnosed. Sometimes fever, chills, and malaise start a day or two before the rash. Sometimes these symptoms do not appear at first.
Medical experts say most cases of monkeypox are a less severe form of the disease. The West African version we have in the US has a 3% to 6% mortality rate.
Walkes says the disease can be very painful in areas with sensitive tissue, including the mouth, eyes, genital area and anus.
People at risk for severe disease include:
- People with weakened immune systems. This includes people with HIV.
- Children under 8 years old. (Two pediatric cases have occurred in the United States.)
- Pregnant women can pass the disease to their fetuses and are at risk of miscarriage.
- People with the disease touch their rash and then touch other parts of the body. They can create a lot of silly websites.
Getting vaccinated or tested for monkeypox
Austin Public Health recommends these doses for people who have been in contact with someone with monkeypox in the past 14 days or have had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days. People can call Austin Public Health’s capital line at 512-972-5560 for vaccination information.
“We are ready to distribute the vaccines,” Brown said. “Austin Public Health and other clinics have the infrastructure ready. They just need to get more vaccines.”
Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox, so the chickenpox vaccine will not protect you from monkeypox. If you’ve had the smallpox vaccine, you may get some protection, but we don’t know how long those vaccines last, Walkes said. Austin Public Health is still giving the new monkeypox vaccine to people it determines are at risk, even if they’ve had a previous smallpox vaccine.
Course of monkey disease
The CDC said it can take up to 21 days for monkeypox to show symptoms.
If you need a test for monkeypox, you can call the same capital line or ask for a health service. You can get tested if you only have a rash because the test involves taking a swab of the wound.
While you wait for the test results, you should isolate yourself, including from other people in your home. If possible, you should wear a mask and do your own laundry. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom or clean between uses. It should be isolated from pets because it can spread to pets.
If you test positive for monkeypox, you can be contagious for two to four weeks, according to the CDC.