AUSTIN (KXAN) — The virus that causes monkeypox may have infected five more people in the area, according to Austin Public Health (APH).
In a newsletter released Tuesday afternoon, the agency shared it’s investigating “five presumptive cases in which the individuals are experiencing symptoms consistent with monkeypox.” APH already confirmed one positive case after testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that person is still in isolation at home.
Texas has at least 12 confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to the latest numbers released by the CDC. The federal agency still considers the risk level for the general public remains low.
APH shared monkeypox is spread through close contract with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has the virus or through direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or sores, such as clothing or linens.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said monkeypox symptoms begin with a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash that looks like pimples or blisters may appear soon after the initial symptoms.
If someone develops a new, unexplained skin rash — with or without fever and chills — APH advises people to seek immediate medical care and avoid contact with others.
Doctors should report all potential cases to their local health department, which may help close contacts of the patient get the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine can prevent people from getting sick with the disease if it’s given within four days of exposure, DSHS said. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to provide vaccines across the nation to those who need them.