Child under 2 in Harris County presumed positive for monkeypox

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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The child is asymptomatic and expected to make a full recovery.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A child under 2 years old in Harris County has presumptively tested positive for monkeypox, Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a briefing on Tuesday morning.

Hidalgo said that officials learned of the information on Monday.

The child is presumed positive until confirmed by the CDC, but there hasn't been a presumptive positive case so far that hasn't been confirmed, Hidalgo added. It will take about a week for that information to come back.

The child is asymptomatic, though he or she does have a residual rash. In good news, the child is expected to make a full recovery.

It wasn't immediately known how the child contracted monkeypox. According to Hidalgo, the child was not in daycare or in school.

In the meantime, contact tracing is underway and anyone who was a direct contact has been offered the vaccine.

The child's parents are cooperating, Hidalgo said.

The diagnosis was made after the parents noticed the rash and took the child in for an exam.

The child is the first young person in Texas to be presumptive positive.

ABC13 asked officials whether parents should be concerned about this child case, and while they don't want families to think that the virus is running rampant in schools, it is a sign the virus is not contained to one specific group.

As of Tuesday morning, Harris County is reporting 42 cases while the city of Houston is reporting 265 cases.

This all comes as the county announced that it would be starting intradermal monkeypox vaccination on Tuesday. Intradermal means the injection is given under the skin.

The change in the administration of the vaccine was following guidance from federal health officials, who are allowing five doses of vaccine from one dial to be given in an effort to help stretch it.

Health officials say the smaller dose is just as safe and effective.

The federal government also said it is OK to give the vaccine to kids six months or older.

In Harris County, who can get the vaccine is expanding to include those with HIV and who have recently been diagnosed with chlamydia.

An estimated 26,000 people are living with HIV in Houston and Harris County.

The federal government has allotted 16,780 doses in separate shipments for Houston and Harris County. This week, the department expects to receive a second shipment of about 10,100 doses. It received the first shipment totaling 6,740 doses on Aug. 2.

Groups prioritized for vaccination are people age 18 or older who:

  • Are men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners within the previous 21 days
  • Have a sex partner suspected of having monkeypox, such as rash or sores
  • Are HIV positive or on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Have had a diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis within the previous three months

Still, the threat of monkeypox to Houston's general population is low.

Monkeypox 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.