NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The usually rare monkeypox disease continues to spread, and New Mexico just announced the state’s first probable case. But our neighbors have had cases for some time. Here’s how the situation is playing out in nearby states.
Every state that touches New Mexico has already seen multiple cases, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC). Of our direct neighbors, Texas currently has the highest case count, with 26 cases.
In Texas, some of the cases identified earlier this year likely came from travel outside the state, according to a press release from the Texas Department of State Health Services. This is probable, as the majority of cases have been in Europe, according to the CDC. But since June, Texas has been reporting non-travel cases. That is, monkeypox is spreading within Texas.
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Interactive Map: Monkeypox has appeared in many states across the U.S. Data: CDC.
Monkeypox generally spreads by close contact. Rashes, sores, and scabs are fairly common symptoms, and direct contact with those can spread the disease, according to the CDC. The disease can also spread via contaminated items, such as bedding. And, as you might guess from the name, animals can spread the disease as well.
Arizona has reported a few cases. And Colorado has had at least nine cases, according to the CDC. The good news is that the disease doesn’t spread too easily, as seen from the cases in Colorado.
The first two cases in Colorado appeared in May, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Six cases appeared in June. And so far, only one case has appeared in July.
Other states have had larger outbreaks. California has reported 136 cases. New York has reported 153, according to the CDC.
“Monkeypox is a very rare disease in the United States, and it’s important to keep in perspective that monkeypox does not spread as easily among people,” Acting New Mexico Department of Health Secretary, Dr. David R. Scrase said in a press release. “While the risk for most people remains low, anyone who has close contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk of infection, which makes this a public health concern for all of us.”
It’s important to note that anyone can potentially develop symptoms if exposed. Globally, the transmission rate is relatively high among gay and bisexual communities, according to the CDC. But anyone could get the disease, so be aware of symptoms such as a rash (which often look like whiteheads or pimples), the CDC warns. More information on symptoms can be found here.
If you have symptoms, you should avoid contact with others and call your healthcare provider to get tested. If you do not have a doctor or health insurance, simply call for an appointment at a Public Health Office.
Vaccines can help with reducing symptoms. Because the disease is similar to smallpox, drugs designed to treat smallpox can be effective against monkeypox, according to the CDC.
This isn’t the first time monkeypox has been in the U.S. In 2003, a shipment of small animals brought the disease to Texas. The disease spread via prairie dogs sold as pets and infected nearly 50 people, according to the CDC. That outbreak was stopped after the rollout of testing and the use of smallpox vaccines.