Harris County resident who was presumed positive for monkeypox dies; cause of death has not been released, officials say

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – An adult with various serious illnesses, who was also presumed positive for monkeypox, died Sunday, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Harris County Public Health.

Health officials said at this time the patient’s cause of death is unknown. HCPH is working with partners to determine what role, if any, monkeypox may have played in this person’s death. An autopsy is underway and the final report will be available in the coming weeks.

“We are sharing this information to err on the side of transparency and to avoid any potential misinformation about this case,” Hidalgo said. “The best way for us to fight this virus is through vaccines. Our goal is always to get as many qualified people vaccinated as quickly as possible – I have always believed that vaccines are the key to reducing the spread.

The department worked with Harris Health System, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on this case.

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“We are continuing our work to control the monkeypox outbreak in our community and build healthier and stronger,” said Harris County HCPH Director Barbie Robinson.

No other information about the person will be shared at this time to respect the privacy of the family.

If you or a loved one are suspected of being exposed to monkeypox, please contact your healthcare provider.

If you have any questions about monkeypox testing, vaccinations and other advice, please call the monkeypox hotline at (832) 927-0707 or visit the monkeypox advice webpage at HCPH at www.hcphtx.org/monkeypox.

About Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that includes a painful rash, which may look like pimples or blisters, often with previous flu-like illness. Zoonoses are infectious diseases that are transmitted between species, from animals to humans (or from humans to animals and from humans to humans).

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Monkeypox can be spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

● Direct and/or sexual contact with monkeypox rashes, sores or scabs from a person with monkeypox.

● Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by a person with monkeypox.

● Contact with respiratory secretions, by kissing or prolonged face-to-face contact.

Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin within two weeks of exposure to the virus, and within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the onset of fever, people develop rashes or sores.

Other initial symptoms related to monkeypox include:

● Fever

● Headaches

● Muscle pain and back pain

● Swollen lymph nodes

● Chills or exhaustion

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