Frequently Asked Questions About Monkeypox in Dallas
The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services has recorded nearly 200 positive cases of monkeypox within the last few days. As the case numbers rise in the area and across Texas, a vaccine response is just beginning. In fact, the Dallas County monkeypox vaccine hotline was temporarily overloaded on the first morning that it launched.
Reportedly, Dallas County will receive at least 5,000 monkeypox vaccines. It is not clear if the vaccines will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis or based on individual needs. Either way, local officials have encouraged people to continue calling the hotline at 972-692-2780 if they are interested in vaccination, even if the hotline appears to be overloaded again.
However, Dallas County is only approving monkeypox vaccines for:
- People who know they have had close contact with people who have tested positive for monkeypox
- Adult men who have had sexual contact with more than one partner in the last two weeks
Frequently Asked Questions About Monkeypox
- What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral disease that manifests mostly as painful blisters and rashes. It was first recorded in a population of research monkeys in the late ‘50s, which is where it derives its name. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in the early ’70s.
- Is monkeypox an STD?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that monkeypox should not be seen only as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Monkeypox can be spread through any close, physical contact with an infected person, especially if they are currently showing a rash, blister, or open wound. Although the majority of the recorded cases in the U.S. right now involve men who have sexual contact with other men, it is not a virus that only affects this demographic. Men who do not have sexual contact with men, as well as women, can and have contracted monkeypox through nonsexual contact with an infected person. Everyone needs to be aware of this outbreak, regardless of their sexuality.
- Can monkeypox spread when someone has no symptoms?
It is not fully understood if people with no monkeypox symptoms but who are infected with the virus can spread it to others.
- Can monkeypox be contracted by touching infected surfaces?
Yes, the monkeypox virus appears to linger on surfaces of various types—fabrics, plastics, metals, etc.—for an extended but inconclusive period. It is possible to contract the virus by touching an infected surface without the right precautions. Surfaces and objects should be thoroughly sanitized after coming into contact with a monkeypox patient, even those with mild cases. Thorough handwashing and hygiene after a potential contact might be able to significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
- Is monkeypox dangerous?
In most cases, it will not require hospitalization. Severe cases can be dangerous, though, so medical attention is always required. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only about 10% of known cases of monkeypox have required hospitalization. Most of those hospitalizations were for blister-related pain relief, not to provide life-saving treatments or intensive care, though.
- What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox symptoms often include a fever, headache, muscle ache, swollen lymph nodes, chill, and a red rash that forms painful blisters or lesions. Some people get a rash first and then the other symptoms. For others, it is the other way around. It is also known that some people only get a rash that never blisters.
- How long do monkeypox symptoms last?
Within three weeks of exposure to the virus, monkeypox symptoms can begin. Within about 4 days, a rash will develop. At that point, the virus can worsen and form blisters that must break, heal, and scab over. This process can last a month but might be quicker with medical attention.
- How is monkeypox treated?
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. Medical care for monkeypox patients mostly focuses on alleviating the symptoms, rather than eradicating the virus. Smallpox antiviral drugs and vaccines have proven to be effective, though, because the viruses are so similar.
- Who should get vaccinated for monkeypox?
Anyone eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine should consider getting it as soon as possible. As mentioned, the quantities are limited right now, so it might not be possible to receive a vaccine, even if you request one early.
Monkeypox Testing at ER of Texas Emergency Center
At ER of Texas Emergency Center, we are able to provide testing for Monkeypox if our Emergency Physician feels you have a rash consistent with the disease. Remember, most Monkeypox care is supportive and no specific medications will be given in the ER setting other than those medications to alleviate symptoms you may have associated with the rash.
For further questions or guidance regarding Monkeypox or the vaccine, residents can call their local Health Department.
Our ER is open 24/7 to help treat and diagnose minor and major medical emergencies. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us or just walk-in. Our board-certified physicians are available 24 hours.