Bell County Public Health District announces first confirmed case of Monkeypox in Bell County

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) – The Bell County Public Health District has reported the first confirmed case of monkeypox in Bell County.

The Bell County Public Health District is working with local health care providers to investigate this initial confirmed case of monkeypox virus infection in a Bell County resident with recent in-state travel. The patient is isolated and recovering at home.

The public health investigation has identified close contacts who may have been exposed and they are being monitored and evaluated. Currently, the disease does not pose a risk to the general public.

There are now 338 cases in the state including most recently in McLennan County with the vast majority of these cases in the 18 to 39 age group.

“As the number of new cases across the country and in Texas continues to rise, the health district is working closely with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) and our local healthcare partners to identify potential cases and to limit the spread,” said Amy J. Yeager, District Director.

Monkeypox is an infection caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same class of viruses that causes smallpox and vaccinia, but not smallpox.

Symptoms of monkeypox infection include fever, chills, headache, muscle and back pain, and swollen lymph glands, followed by a rash 3-5 days after the onset of fever. They may also experience respiratory symptoms (eg sore throat, nasal congestion or cough). Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.

If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later. The rash can start anywhere on the body, but it most often starts on the face.

However, with the actual outbreak, the rash often starts in the genital area. The rash may look like a pimple or blister. Usually the disease lasts 2-4 weeks.

The main way people become infected with monkeypox is through close, personal contact with an infected person, including sexual contact.

It can also be transmitted from person to person by inhaling large droplets or through close contact with body fluids and lesions, as well as contaminated materials (eg, clothing or bed sheets, and using utensils sharing eating or drinking glasses, cigarettes or vaping devices, kissing and other activities where saliva may be exchanged with a person who has monkeypox).

People should try to avoid skin-to-skin contact with strangers, especially those who have a rash or whose health history is unknown.

Pregnant people can also spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact.

“Although this current outbreak is quite specific, it is important for the community to understand the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, what to do if they develop symptoms, and know how the disease is transmitted,” said Amy J. Yeager, director of BCPHD. .

In most cases, the infection clears up without specific treatment, but people who are immunosuppressed, living with HIV, or who are pregnant are at higher risk of complications.

Children under the age of 8 are also at higher risk for more severe illness.

The best way to help stop the further spread of this disease is to quickly identify anyone who is infected and their contacts.

If you think you may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, you may be a candidate for a vaccine.

The vaccine is most effective if given within 4 days of exposure, but can be given up to 14 days after exposure.

If you have any of the symptoms described above, please contact your health care provider or the Bell County Public Health District immediately for instructions on what to do next at (254) 939-2091 or

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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