HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Monkeypox cases are surging across the country, and one of Houston's top doctors says we're "behind" in our efforts to contain the virus.
Despite that, Dr. Peter Hotez with Baylor College of Medicine said COVID-19 remains the bigger health threat.
Hotez said COVID spreads much easier than monkeypox, which he says generally requires prolonged, intimate contact.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting 4,639 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States as of July 27.
"We are behind. We are not where we need to be to get our arms around monkeypox both in Texas, and USA. We're starting from behind and have an enormous amount of work to do," Hotez said. "If we allow the numbers to continue to accelerate, like any other illness, eventually, it will spill over into vulnerable groups, like children, pregnant women, immunocompromised, that's what we want to halt."
Texas is reporting 231 cases as of July 26, and the vast majority of monkeypox patients in Texas are men. Only three women have been infected in the Lone Star State. So far, no children in Texas have been diagnosed with the virus.
Hotez said the key to containing the outbreak is vaccinating those deemed high risk as quickly as possible.
On Wednesday, the FDA approved the release of 786,000 additional vaccine doses. Of those, the White House says 300,000 doses have been distributed so far.