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A Dallas man reported monkeypox symptoms while vacationing in Mexico. He was asked to isolate but refused, officials say

Mexican health officials said the man reported symptoms while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. However, he refused to isolate and flew back to the U.S. anyway.

DALLAS — A Dallas man who recently tested positive for monkeypox was in Mexico when he began reporting symptoms but refused to isolate and returned to Texas anyway, according to health officials in Mexico.

The Health of Department of Jalisco in Mexico released more details on the case this week, as Dallas County Health and Human Services reported Texas' first monkeypox case this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also raised its alert level on monkeypox after global cases surpassed 1,000 and after at least 21 people in 11 states tested positive for the disease.

According to the Jalisco state health department, the Dallas man traveled to Berlin, Germany on May 12 and then returned to Dallas on May 16. The department then said the 48-year-old man traveled to Puerto Vallarta on May 27 for vacation with his partner.

The health department reported that the man began showing symptoms, such as cough, chills and "pustule-like lesions on the face and neck," on May 30. According to the department, the man on June 3 contacted his doctor in Texas, who recommended that the 48-year-old get medical care and report the symptoms to Mexican health authorities.

The man's doctor also reported the possible monkeypox case to the CDC, the department said.

The Mexican state health department said the man went to a private hospital in Puerto Vallarta, where he was instructed to provide samples and to isolate himself. The department reported that the man refused to isolate and fled the hospital.

The department learned the man had a scheduled flight back to Dallas on June 6, which led health officials to inform airlines to not allow him to fly or board an aircraft.

However, the CDC told Mexican health officials that the 48-year-old traveled back to the U.S. on June 4 on an unspecified airline or flight, according to the health department. And then on June 7, the positive test of monkeypox was reported.

The Jalisco health department said it is performing contact tracing as it was reported that the man attended multiple parties while in Puerto Vallarta. The CDC also added it is also looking into any possible contacts with airline passengers and others.

The Dallas County health department said on Tuesday that the man is currently isolating and recovering at home.

"This is the first case that we've seen this year," Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said. "We're monitoring the people who have had direct contact with the patient for symptoms."

According to health officials, monkeypox can be spread between people through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluids. It can also be spread by respiratory secretions during face-to-face contact.

Rodney Rohde, a virologist at Texas State University, told WFAA that monkeypox is less transmissible than COVID-19 and that people shouldn't be alarmed by the rising cases.

"Outside of skin-to-skin contact, you really have to have prolonged face-to-face exposure for three or more hours," Rohde said. "It's also not as fatal. This particular strain in the U.S. is about 1% or less fatal. And we've seen no fatalities yet."

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