AUSTIN (KXAN) — As more monkeypox cases appear in Texas and across the nation, so do the questions. While most cases are among men who partake in sexual activity with other men, health officials are saying anyone can get it.

“We really need our community to stand with us,” said Austin-Travis County health authority Dr. Desmar Walkes during a news briefing Tuesday in which she declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

It poses the question: Exactly how concerned should we be?

“The sort of infinitesimal risk, maybe one in 100,000, one in a million. Is it possible? Sure. But I mean, I could win the Powerball as well. And I’m not worried about winning that,” said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, an infectious disease specialist based in El Paso.

Alozie, who also serves on the governor’s COVID-19 task force, said while it’s possible for the general public to contract the virus, the risk isn’t the same for everyone.

“I think it’s important for us to sort of pump the brakes and say, ‘Hey, we understand that 98 to 99% of the persons who have contracted monkeypox are MSM, or men having sex with men,” he said. “I think we do ourselves a disservice as a community and as a nation when we pitch the risk of these things the same.”

Alozie said he’s disappointed public health officials seem to be pumping that message.

“If you had to list a top 10 health concern for you to have, it would not be on your list,” he said.

“If you had to list a top 10 health concern for you to have, it would not be on your list.”

Dr. Ogechika Alozie, infectious disease specialist

Alozie said instead, physicians and officials should be focusing on the group most at risk and increasing access to testing.

“What our public health departments need to do is focus on how to get them vaccine, focus on how to get them treatment,” he said.

He said for others, the risk doesn’t compare to COVID-19, which is airborne and can be caught in a classroom, on a bus, at home or at a party.

“They’re not in the same galaxy,” Alozie said. “[It’s] highly unlikely that even if somebody has monkeypox in the same room with you that you will get it from them just by being in the same room.”

It’s an approach Audrey Silva is taking with her family.

“I think as long as we just pay attention, and don’t overreact and just take the correct steps to act, it won’t blow up,” said Silva, who has two kids in elementary school.

Richard Grijalva also isn’t worried about sending his second grader to school due to monkeypox, but he does think the school district needs to be more transparent with parents.

“I feel it’s the school’s duties or the school district’s duties to offer the best available information,” Grijalva said.

Another viewer wrote to KXAN asking what the Austin Independent School District is doing to prevent the possible spread of monkeypox once classes begin.

An AISD spokesperson told KXAN they’re following APH’s recommendations but didn’t offer any specifics.

KXAN also asked if they’ve talked to parents at all about the disease. We haven’t heard back on that, yet.

Alozie said parents shouldn’t be concerned with sending their kids back to school.

“I have to repeat, I’ll say that really clearly: highly unlikely. If you are not in these dense social networks where the spread of monkeypox seems to be rising the fastest, it is highly unlikely for you to get monkeypox,” Alozie explained.