HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provided an update on Harris County’s response to Monkeypox Tuesday morning.
Last week, at Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner’s request, over 16,000 vaccine doses were allocated to the Houston/Harris County region, and are available in limited quantities for eligible residents.
Hidalgo asked the federal government to take more action and provide additional vaccines to meet the potential demand and help Harris County keep the virus under control.
On Tuesday afternoon, hours after Hidalgo’s request, the Houston Health Department said it received a shipment of 6,740 doses of the vaccine and will receive up to 16,780 doses in the coming weeks. The health department said it will provide 30% of the doses to Harris County Public Health.
There were 125 reported monkeypox cases in Harris County as of late Monday, according to Harris County Public Health.
Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox, but milder. The virus mainly spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids of someone who has the virus.
It can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
The virus also transmits through touching bedding, towels and clothing used by someone with monkeypox.
Saturday, the World Health Organization declared the current monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries a global emergency.
The outbreak is by far the biggest involving the virus.
Prior to the 2022 outbreak, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. confirmed its first case of the monkeypox virus in mid-May and now has over 5,811 confirmed infections, nearly 400 of which were reported in Texas.