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Dallas County tests inmate for monkeypox

One reported Dallas County jail inmate has been tested for monkeypox.

Lew Sterrett Justice Center
Lew Sterrett Justice Center pictured in Dallas on July 8, 2022. At least one Dallas County jail inmate has been tested for monkeypox, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department did not say in which facility the potential case emerged.(Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

By Josephine Peterson

At least one Dallas County jail inmate has been tested for monkeypox, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

The sheriff’s department did not reveal the age and gender of the inmate potentially infected with the virus, say in which facility the potential case emerged or comment on precautionary steps that are being taken.

“The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office is working in conjunction with Parkland Hospital and Dallas County Health Department to investigate a potential case of monkeypox,” a news release said. “The individual in custody has been tested and protocols have been implemented as a measure of precaution.”

The Dallas County jail holds about 6,000 inmates across six detention centers.

As of Wednesday, the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department reported 14 positive cases of monkeypox, a fivefold increase of cases in the last three weeks.

The county health department announced on July 6 that someone who had recently attended the Daddyland Festival in Dallas contracted the first reported case.

While a larger portion of reported cases are among men who have sex with men, anyone who comes into close contact with someone infected with monkeypox is at risk.

In recent weeks, the health department has administered about 50 doses of Jynneos vaccine, which helps prevent smallpox and monkeypox.

Dallas County’s health department director, Philip Huang, previously told The Dallas Morning News that a global shortage of the vaccine has caused the department to run low on doses.

In most cases of monkeypox, those with healthy immune systems will experience mild symptoms that go away on their own. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are more than 40 reported cases across the country and more than 900 worldwide. The virus first started gaining national attention in May, as cases appeared in Great Britain. Huang told The News in May that the county is ready for the virus.

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