Gatherings in close settings come with an increased risk of spreading viruses in the community, such as monkeypox
AUSTIN, Texas – As Austin-Travis County moves into a busy festival season, Austin Public Health (APH) is monitoring dozens of presumptive and confirmed monkeypox cases in our community. Following recommended guidance will help to reduce the spread of monkeypox and will allow for safe celebrations.
Anyone participating in events like raves, parties and festivals can protect themselves and others by:
- Being fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers.
- Limiting close and or/intimate contact to people you know.
- Close contact includes sharing items like drinks and blankets.
- Wearing well-fitting masks in close quarters when social distancing isn’t possible to reduce sharing mouth/nasal fluids.
- Being aware of monkeypox symptoms. Along with rash, symptoms include fever, headache and muscle aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Washing your hands and use hand sanitation often.
- Staying home if you feel sick or experience any symptoms.
“Covering as much of your skin as possible and wearing well-fitting masks and are tools everyone can use to reduce the spread of monkeypox,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “Keep in mind that monkeypox affects everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine is in limited supply nationwide, people will need to follow the hygiene guidance listed above to stay protected.
When vaccine is provided by the state, it is required to follow the criteria of the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As required, APH is evaluating those who are high-risk close contacts to monkeypox cases for vaccination eligibility.
Only those who had a sexual partner in the past 14 days who was diagnosed with monkeypox or those who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox are currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
“While we await more vaccines from the state, staying informed and practicing prevention methods are the best ways to protect yourself from monkeypox,” said Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Follow the lessons we’ve learned from COVID-19 to enjoy these upcoming festivities safely.”
As of Thursday, August 4, Austin-Travis County has 9 confirmed and 46 presumptive cases of monkeypox. Those numbers are updated weekly online.
Anyone who believes they are a close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should reach out to their health care provider. Those without access to healthcare may call APH's Equity Line at 512-972-5560 for information.
Monkeypox Virtual Roundtable
APH and Central Health, along with community partners, are hosting a virtual monkeypox roundtable for the community on Friday, August 5, from 12-1 p.m.
The conversation will include several local physicians and health experts who will provide a current situational update on monkeypox and discuss prevention methods, professional experiences and vaccine availability and eligibility. Local advocates will also participate in the discussion.
There will be several opportunities for community members to ask questions during this event.
The roundtable will be broadcast via Facebook Live on Central Health’s Facebook page.