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First probable monkeypox case reported in Amarillo


AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting close to 19,000 confirmed Monkeypox cases with almost 1,700 of those being in Texas.

As of today, the Amarillo Public Health Department has reported the city’s first probable case within the public health district.

With this case, initial testing was completed at a commercial laboratory and it tested positive for Orthopoxvirus.

The department says it is likely the case will remain probable because it was not confirmed by the CDC and not all samples are sent to the CDC.

Details of who possibly tested positive or how it was contracted will not be released, however the Public Health Department wants to emphasize the public is not at risk.

“We’ve conducted a public health follow up and the public is not at risk, with this individual case. It is important however, just to be aware and to take responsible prevention steps,” said Casie Stoughton, director of Public Health Department, city of Amarillo.

Health experts say Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.

“But it relates to sex in terms of intimate skin to skin contact, so anybody who has rash should not have direct skin to skin contact, you should not have sexual relationships with someone you don’t know, anonymous sex,” said Tarek Naguib, M.D., Texas Tech Physicians infectious disease specialist.

At this time, data from the CDC is suggesting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current outbreak.

“It is not exactly clear why, but the point is, this is the population eligible for a vaccine if they have a sexual encounter with an anonymous person or somebody with the illness,” said Naguib.

The Public Health Department encourages the community to stay cautious

“If you see somebody who has a newly developed rash, or if you yourself, have a newly developed rash, it’s good idea to talk to your doctor, keep that rash covered and stay home if you’re not feeling well,” said Stoughton.

Stoughton says the department does not believe we are at risk of an outbreak in the city, unlike what was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a vaccine available for those who qualify,

You can access vaccine registration on the city’s Monkeypox website and see if you are eligible.