LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas recorded its first death of a person with monkeypox on Tuesday, state officials said. Also on Tuesday, officials in Lubbock provided an update on local cases.
Three total monkeypox cases were reported as of Tuesday in Lubbock, according to Director of Public Health Katherine Wells.
Wells said all three were travel-related, meaning, the cases were not contracted in Lubbock. Wells said they traveled to a region with high monkeypox case counts. The Health Department did contact tracing for people who may have been exposed in the Lubbock area.
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“We started administering monkeypox vaccines here at the health department,” Wells said. “You have to either be a close contact, or at an event … with individuals that have tested positive for monkeypox.”
Anyone who qualifies can call the department at 806-775-2933 for further screening.
Wells defined a close contact as someone that lives in the same household, or someone who might have shared food or drinks.
“We’re able to offer that vaccine as a prophylaxis to those individuals,” Wells said. “We have a vaccine set aside specifically to treat individuals who have been recently exposed.”
As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease reported 1604 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases in Texas, and 18,101 nationwide.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the person who died in Harris County was “severely immunocompromised.” As for what role monkeypox played in that particular case, officials said an investigation was underway.