Harris Co. child’s presumptive monkeypox case was false positive, officials say
HOUSTON - A presumptive monkeypox case in a young Harris County child is now believed to have been a false positive, officials announced on Tuesday.
A week ago, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that a child under the age of two was the first presumptive positive case in a child in the county, but they were waiting for the CDC to confirm the results.
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"I am pleased to announce we learned from the CDC that the child in fact did not have monkeypox. So the case, we believe, was a false positive. False positives do happen. They're very rare," Judge Hidalgo said Tuesday.
She said the county had not had a false positive in any previous monkeypox samples sent to the CDC.
"The false positives only happened around 4% of the time, and I'm glad we followed best practices by assuming the child was positive until proven otherwise," she said.
When announcing the presumptive case last week, Judge Hidalgo said contract tracing was being conducted and vaccines would be offered to those in direct contact with the child.
No child monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Harris County. Last week, Judge Hidalgo said the case, if confirmed, would have been the first child case in Texas and one of only a handful across the United States.
"There have been confirmed cases among children in the United States, including in Florida, in New York, in California. So children are still able to get the virus," she said Tuesday.
"So overall, obviously it's good news to know that as far as we can tell, monkeypox remains mostly concentrated in the groups we focus our response efforts on and it has not spread to kids yet," Judge Hidalgo said. "So it's time to be vigilant, to get ahead of the virus, to surround it, by ensuring the population at most at risk is vaccinated."
Vaccines are currently being provided only to select people including those who were directly exposed to monkeypox and those who are at high risk of contracting the virus. Learn more on the Harris County Public Health website.
County health officials also have a Monkeypox Hotline where residents can get answers about testing, vaccinations and more at 832-927-0707.