Health officials caution parents about monkeypox as kids head back to school

As many kids head back to school, local health officials are issuing warnings about monkeypox. As of Tuesday, 9,492 cases have been confirmed across the US, 748 of those in Texas. 

Houston, Harris County, and unincorporated areas are reporting 446 confirmed cases of monkeypox. 

RELATED: Houston Health Authority on Monkeypox risk, vaccines and tests

Local health officials are urging families to remain diligent by washing their hands frequently. Doctors also say kids, teachers, or any staff who are sick should stay home from school. 

"Monkeypox begins with a what we call a prodrome it can be a cold or flu symptoms of fever, body aches, fatigue and then sometimes we have some people who missed the pro drum totally, and they don't know that they've been exposed to a monkeypox until they actually see the rash," Dr Ericka Brown with Harris County Public Health.

Although the monkeypox vaccine is now available, Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department said demand is outpacing supply, and the criteria for who can get it, remains very limited. 

"On one hand, we are trying to slow down the spread by targeting people who are engaging in high-risk behaviors and once we get enough vaccines, we can then start broadening the criteria to cover people who are at highest risk for complications," Dr. Persse said. "I foresee that we are going to have more spread that is not intimate, physical contact but is a respiratory droplet and through fomites."


So far, only two kids in the US have tested positive for monkeypox, according to the most recent CDC data. 

The Houston Health Department will soon begin testing wastewater for monkeypox, however, officials said they don’t expect results until the end of the month.