A Dallas County resident recently traveled to Mexico, health officials say.
DALLAS COUNTY, Texas – The first case of smallpox was reported in Dallas County in 2022, and the country has seen more cases in the past month, the Dallas County Health and Services Service said Tuesday.
The incident was also the first positive case of monkey smallpox in Texas this year.
DCHHS officials said Monday that a preliminary test at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory in Atlanta was positive. It will be included in the CDC’s official records.
The positive test comes after the CDC announced earlier this week that at least 21 people in 11 states had contracted the disease.
The agency raised its monkey disease alert to level 2, after which global cases exceeded 1,000.
Level 3 warning warns against unimportant travel. Level 2 warnings encourage people to avoid contact with sick people, including those with skin or genital injuries, as well as sick or dead animals.
People who show signs of the virus, such as rashes or sores on the skin that are suddenly unexplained, also emphasize not contacting others and calling health care providers.
A Dallas County resident cannot be identified because of confidentiality issues.
Public health officials are identifying people in direct contact with the patient and monitoring for signs of infection.
The CDC is also in contact with the airline, state and local health officials, the airline’s passengers and other people who may have been in contact with the patient on a flight from Mexico to Dallas.
DCHHS officials said the patient was not hospitalized and was recovering in isolation and at home.
DCHHS Director Dr. According to Philip Juan, the patient is not currently a threat to others, but “monkey smallpox is spreading around the world and we are actively working with local health workers who are ready to recognize smallpox and report suspicious cases to the public.”
“This is the first time we’ve seen it this year,” the doctor said. Juan said. “We are monitoring people who have direct contact with the patient for symptoms.”
According to health officials, the monkey smallpox virus is transmitted to humans primarily through direct contact with infectious wounds, scabies, or body fluids. It can also be transmitted through prolonged, face-to-face breathing.
Smallpox can be transmitted through sexual contact, such as sexual intercourse, as well as through kissing, caressing, or touching parts of the body that contain smallpox.
The CDC says most of the patients who recently tested positive for monkeypox were described as gay or bisexual or other men who had sex with men. A woman who described only heterosexual sex also passed a positive test – it is unknown how she contracted the disease.
Although cases in the United States have been confirmed among LGBTQ + people, the disease is not unique to this group.
Rodney Rochde, a virologist at the University of Texas, told WFAA that smallpox is less contagious than COVID-19 and that people should not worry or change their routines.
“In addition to skin-to-skin contact, you really need to be in face-to-face contact for three or more hours,” Rohde said. “It’s also not fatal. This particular strain in the U.S. causes about 1% or less deaths. We haven’t seen any deaths yet.”
Not to mention that the smallpox vaccine provides some protection against monkey smallpox and there are antiviral drugs.
RELATED: No, monkeypox is not a “gay disease” unique to LGBT people
Last year, a case of monkey disease was reported in Dallas County. Adam traveled from Nigeria to Dallas and arrived in Love Field on July 9, 2021. According to health officials, the risk to the community was minimal.
Juan said the county took a good look at the case and notified more than 200 people who had been in contact with the infected person. According to Juan, they were monitored for 21 days and no one had any symptoms.
Health officials say those infected with monkeys may have higher temperatures, rashes and swollen lymph nodes, which could lead to more serious problems. Click here for more information.