Austin-Travis County records first new monkeypox case since February

Austin-Travis County has recorded its first new monkeypox case since February, bringing the area's total case count to 281.

Austin Public Health (APH) encourages at-risk individuals to get vaccinated and follow precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus.

"This could be the first of many new cases in our community if we aren't cautious and follow the practices we know work to protect ourselves and others," said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. "Vaccines are readily available through APH and community partners. The time is now to get your vaccine."

The CDC raised concerns about a resurgence of monkeypox over the spring and summer months after a cluster of monkeypox cases were reported in the Chicago area in April and May. Nine of the cases were among men who had received two JYNNEOS vaccine doses, emphasizing the importance of following precautions even when vaccinated.

RELATED: Texas reports first U.S. death in person with monkeypox

"Many people in our community were greatly affected by the outbreak we experienced last year," said APH Director Adrienne Sturrup. "A monkeypox infection meant they experienced severe pain, were possibly hospitalized and had to isolate themselves from others for weeks. Let's use the tools we have at our disposal to keep ourselves safe and enjoy this summer to the fullest."

Protective measures to help reduce the spread of monkeypox include:

  • Being fully-clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers;
  • Limiting close and/or intimate contact to people you know, including sharing items like drinks and blankets;
  • Wearing well-fitting masks in close quarters when social distancing isn't possible to reduce direct exchange of mouth and nasal fluids;
  • Washing and sanitizing our hands as well as cleaning surfaces;
  • Staying home if you feel sick or experience symptoms.