North Texas Daily

First presumptive monkeypox case reported in Denton, university to discuss at cabinet meeting

First presumptive monkeypox case reported in Denton, university to discuss at cabinet meeting

First presumptive monkeypox case reported in Denton, university to discuss at cabinet meeting
July 21
13:00 2022

One presumptive positive monkeypox virus case has been identified in Denton, according to a July 9 press release from Denton County Public Health.

At the time of identification, the individual showed symptoms of the virus and had been in contact with a confirmed case. The case is considered presumptive until it is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC did not immediately respond to the Daily’s request for comment.

“Currently, no other monkeypox presumptive cases have been identified,” said DCPH Public Information Officer Flory Garcia-Camey in an email to the Daily. “DCPH is investigating this case and working to identify individuals who may have had direct contact with the patient.”

No further information will be released about the case to protect patient confidentiality, Garcia-Camey said.

Monkeypox is a disease that stems from the same virus that causes smallpox. It spreads through physical contact with sores, scabs, fluids, respiratory secretions of an infected person or animal and contact with contaminated objects. Symptoms of the virus include fever, intense headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and rashes similar in appearance to pimples or blisters.

Illustration of the monkeypox virus. Image source CDC

“If you need to have physical contact with someone who has monkeypox because you are a health worker or live together, the infected person should self-isolate and cover any skin lesion or sores when possible,” Garcia-Camey said. “When you are physically close, you and the infected individual should wear a medical mask, especially if they are coughing or have lesions or sores in their mouth. Avoid skin-to-skin contact when possible and use disposable gloves if you have any direct contact with lesions or sores.”

Typically, infected individuals develop symptoms seven to 14 days after being exposed to the virus or, less commonly, five to 21 days after infection.

Prior to the series of outbreaks in May, monkeypox was a rare disease most commonly seen in central and west African countries. There have been 1,972 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 80 in Texas as of July 18, according to the CDC’s 2022 U.S. Map & Case Count. Globally there are 13,340 confirmed cases of the virus, with 13,100 of the cases reported in countries that historically have not reported monkeypox cases.

“While there is minimal known risk to the general public at this time, we are working with our partners at the local, state and federal level to respond to the recent outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S.,” said Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH director of public health, in a press release. “It is important that healthcare providers recognize potential infection and contact DCPH immediately for lab testing assistance.”

As of publication, the university has no specific plans in place for monkeypox, as the CDC and DCPH have not offered guidance or suggestion to do so, said Elizabeth With, senior vice president of student affairs, in an email to the Daily.

“The Health Crisis Team has discussed it […] [and] is not currently concerned but will continue to monitor,” said university President Neal Smatresk in an email to the Daily. “We will discuss it in an upcoming cabinet meeting.”

Smatresk did not respond to further requests for comment.

“As always, we work closely with DCPH on all public health concerns and are ready to collaborate on any potential cases if the need arises,” said Dr. Cynthia Hermann, the university executive director of the Student Health and Wellness Center and chief medical officer in an email to the Daily.

Based on available data about the virus, students should not be concerned about returning to school in the fall, Hermann said.

Featured Image: A sign for the Denton County Public Health building stands by the street on July 18, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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Madeleine Moore

Madeleine Moore

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