The patient, who traveled to Dallas from Nigeria, is in isolation at a hospital, health officials say.
Updated at 6:30 p.m.: Revised to include comments from Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County’s public health director.
A Dallas resident has been diagnosed with monkeypox, the first case of the virus ever reported in a human in Texas, officials said Friday. But they stressed that the risk posed to the general public was very low.
The patient flew to Dallas Love Field from Atlanta on July 9 after arriving in the country earlier that day on a flight from Lagos, Nigeria, officials said.
Heath officials said the patient, whose identity was not released, was in isolation at a Dallas hospital and was stable. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was working with its counterparts in Nigeria to determine how the patient contracted the virus.
According to Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County’s public health director, the patient went to the hospital Tuesday, four days after arriving in Dallas. Local health officials did preliminary tests, and the CDC confirmed the diagnosis of monkeypox on Thursday.
State, local and federal health officials, along with the airline, were working to identify people who may have had close contact with the passenger during the flights — but they expect the number of potential contacts to be low.
Those close contacts will be monitored for 21 days, receiving twice-daily calls from health officials checking on whether they have developed any symptoms.
Officials noted that because travelers are required to wear masks on flights and in airports to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the potential for the transmission of monkeypox was diminished.
“With everyone wearing masks … that really reduced any risk in those settings,” Huang said.
‘Not a reason for alarm’
Local officials said that the lone case of monkeypox posed little risk to the public at large.
“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement.
By Tom Steele