HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Tuesday that a child under 2 years old has tested presumptive positive for monkeypox in the county.
In a news conference, Hidalgo said the child’s family has helped the county initiate contact tracing. Health officials still reportedly haven’t identified how the virus was transmitted. Hidalgo said the child hasn’t been in daycare or school and is asymptomatic with a rash. All direct contacts with the child are being offered the vaccine, Hidalgo said.
“This is a rare case. This would be, as best we know, the seventh case in the country in a child, the only case of monkeypox of a child in the entire state of Texas,” Hidalgo said.
Vaccination eligibility has been expanded to children six months old and older.
In addition, Hidalgo announced that the county will receive about 9,000 doses instead of the 25,000 that was initially promised for a county of about 5 million people.
“I have a responsibility to advocate for this community. Obviously, the number of doses, the lack thereof, is not acceptable,” Hidalgo said.
According to health officials, the threat of monkeypox to the city’s general population remains low. Hidalgo said so far, the Houston area has seen 269 cases as of Aug. 12 (228 in the city of Houston and 41 in Harris County).
Officials with the Houston Health Department said monkeypox is rare and doesn’t spread easily between people without close, personal, skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms include a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters and may be extremely painful, fever, headache, weakness, chills and swollen lymph nodes, HHD said. Officials said the illness usually lasts two to four weeks. The virus can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed, the department said.