EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The City of El Paso Public Health is reporting its first monkeypox case and has closed out an investigation of another monkeypox case that was mislabeled on the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) dashboard.

First Confirmed Case

Public health officials confirmed that a woman in her 50s is the community’s first confirmed monkeypox case. She is currently recovering at home and the city’s epidemiology team has begun an investigation and contact tracing.

The epidemiology team is working to identify those having close contact and will offer the vaccine to those individuals.

“Monkeypox continues to be a global threat and for this reason, we strongly recommend everyone continue practicing safety precautions to keep themselves and their family, especially our most vulnerable loved ones, safe from all diseases, whether it is COVID, Monkeypox, or the flu,” said City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

Mislabeled Case

Prior to the confirmed case noted above, the DSHS dashboard reported that Region 9/10 had another case of monkeypox; however, after a comprehensive investigation by City’s epidemiology team, it was found that the patient— a man in his 30s — is a former El Paso resident but left the region over a year ago. The man, who lives on the East Coast, experienced symptoms in July, was tested and confirmed as being infected with monkeypox. He has already recovered.

About Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a viral disease that can be spread between people or between people and certain animals presenting with a very characteristic rash that may be located on several areas of the body. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Symptoms of Monkeypox include:

  • Distinctive Rash
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Individuals may experience all or only a few symptoms. Monkeypox is spread in various ways:

  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact
  • This direct contact can also happen during intimate contact
  • It is possible to get monkeypox from an infected animal, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or by using products from an infected animal

A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

These simple steps can help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • Wash your hands often.

The community has approximately 200 vaccines available and is requesting more for those who have been identified as having close contact with a confirmed case. The city’s epidemiology team will investigate every confirmed case and identify those having close contact and will offer the vaccine to those individuals.

Residents who have symptoms of monkeypox should talk to a healthcare provider to determine the disease and outline next steps.