TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Austin Public Health (APH) confirmed six cases of monkeypox in Travis County as of Wednesday. There are also seven presumed cases in the county. The virus is being considered community spread.

APH warned in a press release residents should take every precaution to avoid infection as cases continue rising in the area and across the state. There are currently 39 cases in Texas.

“We need to be safe and follow practices we’ve learned from COVID-19 to prevent the spread of monkeypox here in our community,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority. “Try to reduce close, intimate interactions with those whose health history you’re unaware of. Use hand sanitizer, and wear masks when in close quarters with others who have symptoms.” 

Local monkeypox case totals will be updated by APH online every Thursday.

Monkeypox can spread to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation and travel history. While the virus is known for causing patients to have a rash, symptoms can also include fever, muscle and body aches, headaches, chills and swollen lymph nodes. 

There are several measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox:   

  • Minimize skin-to-skin contact, especially if a person has been exposed to the virus, showing a rash or skin sores.   
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with monkeypox.   
  • Practice good hand hygiene. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.   
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE), mask, gloves, eye protection and gowns when caring for people infected with monkeypox.   

If you begin experiencing symptoms, seek medical care and avoid physical intimacy/sex with others until meeting and being cleared by a health care provider.