Austin officials urge precautions to prevent new mpox surge
Austin Public Health is warning residents to be vigilant about preventing the spread of mpox, concerned about the potential for a resurgence of the virus.
After months without any new cases detected, APH confirmed a single new case in late May.
Additionally, several clusters of mpox have emerged in other cities, including Chicago, which has seen 45 new cases in the past three months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in May that health providers should watch for symptoms of mpox in their communities in case of a resurgence.
Locally, Austin-Travis County health authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said wastewater monitoring from Wednesday also detected mpox, formerly called monkeypox.
“Number one thing to do … is get vaccinated, get vaccinated, get vaccinated,” Walkes said, speaking specifically to people at high risk for contracting the disease.
At at Friday town hall discussing mpox, CommUnityCare’s Director of Intensive Outpatient Clinics Dr. Mike Stefanowicz said that includes people who have recently had multiple sexual partners or have had skin-to-skin contact with someone known to have mpox. The two-dose Jynneos vaccine for mpox is available through APH and several clinics throughout Travis County, including CommUnityCare, Kind Clinic and Vivent Health locations.
“The more people who may benefit from the mpox vaccine who choose to get immunized, the less likely we are to see an outbreak here for impacts later this summer,” Stefanowicz said.
He also encouraged people to reduce their risk by limiting their numbers of sexual partners and practicing safe sex by using a condom. He said people should also be on the lookout for painful skin lesions, fever and flu-like symptoms, and isolate if any are detected.