The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox in Texas. The patient was an adult resident of Harris County who was severely immunocompromised. The case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death.
“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS Commissioner. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”
People should contact their health care provider if they have fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash. People who are diagnosed with monkeypox should stay home and avoid close contact with others until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
For most people, infection with monkeypox is painful but not life threatening.
Monkeypox is a preventable disease that spreads through close contact with an infected person. There are things everyone should do to help prevent the spread of monkeypox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with a new, unexplained rash.
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large crowds where people are wearing minimal clothing, such as nightclubs, festivals, raves, saunas, and bathhouses.
- Do not share cups, utensils, bedding or towels with someone who is sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
People who have been exposed to a known case of monkeypox are eligible to be vaccinated against the disease. Some people at high risk of infection may also be eligible for vaccination. Health care providers with patients at high risk of severe illness should work with their local health department to facilitate administration of the JYNNEOS vaccine and treatment with the antiviral medication TPOXX.
DSHS is posting the latest information, guidance for the public, health care providers and others, and updating case counts at dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm#monkeypox.