by Houston Public Media

The city of Houston and Harris County are asking the White House for more Monkeypox vaccines as the number of cases in the Houston area rises to 57.

In a Monday press conference, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that as of now there are 47 cases in houston, with an additional 10 in unincorporated Harris County. The city received more than 5,000 vaccines, 1,500 of those were given to Harris County Public Health.

Turner said though case numbers remain low, they still need more vaccines to prevent a worsening public health crisis.

“If you wait too long then you’re chasing after a pandemic and in this case we don’t want to wait,” Turner said. “We’re asking the White House to send us more vaccines.”

Hidalgo said that the goal is not to scare people, but to make sure it is a different trajectory. 

“WHO declared this a public health emergency. Texas has 183 cases, Harris County has 57 confirmed,” she said. “All have been men between the ages of 20 to 58.; the risk remains low in Harris County.” 

Monkeypox can look like a pimple, blister, rash or lesion. Some people experience fevers and headaches.

Hidalgo also said that monkeypox is not isolated to just one group of people, but can be contracted by anyone, and that the disease has spread out of Africa — a continent in which it is now endemic — in the past, but cases have not been this high.

“It already exists, there’s a vaccine already, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to work against monkeypox,” Hidalgo said. “There are treatment options. The challenging news is it can cause areas of concern in immunocompromised, and children. Those unknowns are the concern.”

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