Harris County Public Health's monkeypox hotline offers answers to testing, treatment and vaccines

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Thursday, July 21, 2022
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While the risk level of monkeypox remains low, some states are starting to see an increase. In the video above, find out what Harris County is doing to help contain the spread.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- There are 81 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Texas. That number has increased from the number of cases on June 18, and Harris County currently accounts for more than a dozen of them.

On Wednesday, Galveston County also reported its first probable case. The county's health department shared that the patient is from out of state but is isolated in Galveston.

The main symptom is a rash that looks like pimples or blisters. But patients can also experience fever, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.

After the announcement in June by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the Biden Administration, Harris County Public Health said it is administering the monkeypox vaccine to people who have been directly exposed to it and/or are at high risk of contracting the virus.

"I think the best thing we can do is to stay vigilant and to be educated and know the Harris County Health Department is ready to handle testing and vaccination as needed," Dr. Ericka Brown with Harris County Public Health told ABC13. "So, no, I don't think there's complacency here and I think we're a little hyper-aware, which is a good thing."

Brown also said the department is currently doing community outreach. They also have a new monkeypox hotline, 832-927-0707, if you have questions or need to be pointed to testing, treatment or vaccines.

On Thursday, a World Health Organization Committee will meet to determine if monkeypox should be classified as a "public health emergency of international concern."