SAN ANTONIO — The number of monkeypox cases continues to climb at an alarming rate, with states of emergency now being declared in San Francisco and New York City.
We ran a Twitter poll to find out how concerned you were about the rapid spread of the disease and found 17 percent of you were very concerned about the spread of the disease, 36 percent were somewhat concerned, and 47 percent were not concerned at all.
"People need to be careful about intimate contact, especially with people that have unexplained rashes or rashes that are known to be monkeypox," said Dr. Jan Patterson, an infectious disease specialist at University Health, and a professor and infectious disease physician at UT Health San Antonio.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says scientists are still researching if the virus spreads when someone has no symptoms, and how often monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
In other words, there is the chance the disease could be airborne. Dr. Patterson added, "There's the possibility that it could be spread by respiratory droplets if someone has close, prolonged contact with that person face to face. But primarily, it is skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the active skin lesions."
As of July 29 there were 22,485 cases of monkeypox worldwide. It has been found in 79 countries; 72 of them have not historically reported monkeypox. In the U.S. as of July 25, there were 3,487 cases reported. Just four days later, that jumped to 5,189, and was in every state except Vermont, Montana, and Wyoming. Here in Texas as of July 29, there were 351 cases and climbing.
Vaccines still are in short supply, but those that have arrived in San Antonio are being given out selectively. Dr. Patterson told us, "Metro Health Department does have a supply of vaccines and those who are being prioritized are those who are have been exposed to monkeypox."
If you have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms like a new unexplained rash and an association with fever and chills, Dr. Patterson says you should seek health care.