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'It's some sort of pox': Monkeypox case in Nueces County probable, not confirmed

Texas DSHS told 3NEWS that such cases are being treated as though they are confirmed cases because no other variation of Orthopoxvirus is currently prevalent.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Officials with the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District clarified a report from CHRISTUS Spohn that a confirmed case of monkeypox has been found at an area hospital. 

It was late Thursday when a representative from CHRISTUS Spohn told 3NEWS that at least one patient with a confirmed case of monkeypox had been treated at an area CHRISTUS Spohn hospital. They could not confirm which hospital the patient was treated at, but did say the patient had since been released. 

RELATED: Christus Spohn reports first case of monkeypox in our region

According to Assistant Health Director Dante Gonzalez with the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District, the patient was a male in his 20s who had not reported any recent travel. He was treated at CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline Hospital.

Gonzalez also clarified that the case is actually considered a probable case of monkeypox rather an a confirmed case, because that confirmation must come from the Centers for Disease Control.

"At this point we are not sure if it is 100% monkeypox, but what we do know is that it is some sort of pox," Gonzalez said. The man tested positive on a PCR test for Orthopoxvirus, a group of viruses that includes monkeypox. 

"Orthopox is several different viruses," Gonzalez said. "It could be monkeypox, it could be chickenpox, it could be any other type of pox; but right now that's why the case definition is a probable."

The Texas Department of State Health Services told 3NEWS that such cases are being treated as though they are confirmed monkeypox cases because no other variation of Orthopoxvirus is currently prevalent in Texas.

Gonzalez said the CDC is taking a "very long time" to confirm cases because of the overwhelming amount of samples they are being sent. 

The virus can cause a range of symptoms like fever, muscle aches and exhaustion. But the telltale sign is a rash that can look like pimples and blisters. 

Public health doctors say it primarily spreads by skin-to-skin, especially intimate contact. But it can also spread by touching clothes and bedding that were contaminated by an infected person.

The number of monkeypox cases reported globally dropped 21% in the last week, reversing a month-long trend of rising infections and signaling that Europe's outbreak may be starting to decline, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The U.N. health agency reported 5,907 new weekly cases and said two countries, Iran and Indonesia, reported their first cases. To date, more than 45,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 98 countries since late April.

The Americas accounted for 60% of cases in the past month, WHO said, while cases in Europe comprised about 38%. It said infections in the Americas showed “a continuing steep rise.”

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