Fall Semester Worries This Year May Include Monkeypox
A few short months ago, monkeypox was not that big a deal in Texas. The latest numbers are out. Now, it is turning into a big deal. The latest numbers released today from the Department of State Health Services found there are now 454 cases in Texas. That is a 500% increase in just a matter of a few weeks.
All but 7 of the cases were found in men.
Experts are now warning that there could be widespread monkeypox outbreaks. The biggest outbreaks have been in men who have sex with men. Returning college students, living in close proximity to each other could also spur outbreaks.
The Texas Department of Health is urging state colleges and universities to put plans in place as cases of monkeypox could become a problem this Fall. The good news is that monkeypox is much harder to contract than Covid-19. It is almost never fatal, but it can be a painful virus. So far, the majority of cases were transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.
representatives for Baylor University and Texas A&M are publicizing that their health care providers have been trained to spot symptoms and possible cases among patients who come into campus clinics. Other campuses in the state are also working on plans to handle possible outbreaks. Angelo State is closely monitoring the situation as well.
Today, the CDC urged isolation for those who test positive for monkeypox for the full duration of the symptoms, which usually last two to four weeks. An alarming report on June 9th found that the virus may possibly spread through respiratory secretions when people are in close contact.
There are about 14,000 Monkeypox vaccines available in Texas. It takes two doses to become effective.
According to John Hopkins Medical School, monkeypox has a long incubation time. It can take four to 21 days to produce symptoms after someone has been exposed to the virus. Symptoms start with a general all over feeling of being ill. This leads to fever and muscle aches with flulike symptoms. The lymp nodes become swollen.
Then a few days later a blister-like rash appears. It usually starts on the face and then spreads elsewhere on the body, unless it is sexually acquired and then it starts in the genital areas.
The lesions and the disease can be very painful and uncomfortable. Vaccines including Jynneos given early after exposure may lesson the severity of the disease if you have been in close contact with someone who has it.
Will monkeypox be the next big pandemic? Probably not, since it is much harder to contract this virus. Health Departments are warning gay men already to limit sex partners. Stay alert and seek treatment right away if you start to experience symptoms. Don't be surprised if one day real soon, we'll see the first reported case in San Angelo.