Monkeypox: Public health experts provide guidelines ahead of fall festival season 

With Austin-Travis County getting ready for a busy fall festival season, Austin Public Health is offering some guidance on how to reduce the spread of monkeypox

APH says it is monitoring dozens of presumptive and confirmed monkeypox cases in the community, with nine confirmed and 46 presumptive cases of monkeypox as of August 4. Those numbers are updated weekly online.

APH says that 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 which can include 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 using 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 county health authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. "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, APH says that 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 CDC, so as required, APH says it 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, says APH.

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 health care may call APH's Equity Line at 512-972-5560 for information.