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Ector County reports first case of monkeypox

As of Friday evening, the patient has not been to the hospital and is isolating at home. They are reported to be doing very well.

ODESSA, Texas — Ector County has reported its first case of monkeypox, according to the Ector County Health Department and County Judge Debi Hays.

As of Friday evening, the patient has not been to the hospital and is isolating at home. They are reported to be doing very well.

The patient is working with doctors and the Texas Department of State Health Services to do contact tracing.

DSHS is reporting four cases of monkeypox for Regions 9 and 10, which includes most of West Texas but also contains El Paso. At this time there is no word on where those cases are located.

The closest case confirmed prior to that was in Abilene back in July.

With a confirmed monkeypox case in the area, here are some important things to know about the disease.

What is monkeypox and how do I identify it?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that is part of the same family as smallpox, according to the CDC. It is unrelated to chickenpox.

However, compared to smallpox, the disease is significantly less deadly, though Texas officials did report a death of someone diagnosed with monkeypox this year.

Monkeypox is characterized by lesions on the skin that often form a dot toward the top of it. Lesions develop together on one part of the body and eventually scab over.

It can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or respiratory issues. The illness lasts anywhere from two to four weeks following a three to 17 day incubation period.

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?

If you are seeing symptoms consistent with monkeypox, reach out to a healthcare provider so you can get a test done.

While you are waiting for results to come back, the CDC recommends you avoid close contact with other people or animals.

If you do have to leave isolation, it is recommended that you cover any rashes, wear a well-fitting mask and avoid public transportation.

How does monkeypox spread?

The CDC says monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact from rashes and scabs as well as saliva. 

Infected persons can also spread through face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact. It is not considered to be an STI.

There is also potential for the virus to be spread through sharing objects like towels or clothing that an infected person used.

Can I get a monkeypox vaccine?

At this time two vaccines are available for smallpox and monkeypox.

The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated if you have been identified as a person who was in close contact with someone with monkeypox or if you have had an intimate partner in the past two weeks that has been diagnosed with the virus.

Other vaccine eligibility requirements can be found by clicking or tapping here.

Vaccines are fairly limited in the United States at this time. The CDC advises you contact your local health department to see if any are available. You can also try the vaccine locator

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