Port Arthur Health Department preparing to order monkeypox vaccine

Published 12:32 am Friday, July 29, 2022

With 287 cases of monkeypox in Texas as of Wednesday, approximately 50 of which are in the Houston region, the Port Arthur Health Department is preparing to administer vaccines, if necessary.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, Texas this week received 14,780 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, 5,120 of which went to Dallas County, where the highest number of cases in the state are bring reported.

In early June, Dallas was the first Texas city to report monkeypox.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Health Director Judith Smith said the Port Arthur Health Department, which serves all of South and Mid Jefferson County, has started the process of requesting vaccines.

“Right now we know it will probably just be used for pre-exposure, post-exposure, those individuals who may have come in contact (with an infected person),” Smith said. “I think eventually it will be opened up more to high-risk individuals.”

Officials from the Port Arthur Health Department are meeting with the Beaumont Health Department next week to align policies.

If given within four days of exposure, the vaccine can prevent the disease, according to information from the state. If administered between five and 14 days, it may reduce symptoms.

Monkeypox spreads from direct contact in an infected individual, prolonged face-to-face contact and intimate physical contact, and touching items that have also touched a rash or bodily fluids of an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The virus is also transmittable from animals.

Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, chills and a rash that resembles blisters or acne.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, “Monkeypox can be very painful, but it is rarely life-threatening. There have no reported deaths in this outbreak in the United States, and hospitalizations in Texas have been for pain management.”

The illness typically lasts approximately two weeks.