Houston-area monkeypox cases rise to nearly 200
Mayor Sylvester Turner during a July 2022 press conference on monkeypox.

Harris County is reporting a total of 223 cases of monkeypox, with 195 of them in Houston. That’s an increase of nearly 100 more cases than previously reported last week.

Doctor David Pierce with the Houston Health Department says, we can expect to see similar trends to the ones we’re seeing in more densely populated communities, like New York, here in Houston.

“This logarithmic growth that we see with epidemics… we’re behind. We’re not seeing here locally what is being seen in other communities. But we need to fully anticipate that that’s going to happen,” he said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

Vaccines remain only accessible to people who have been in contact with monkeypox, or for those who are at high risk.

In late July, the city of Houston and Harris County requested that the White House send more monkeypox vaccines as the number of cases in the Houston area on July 26 had risen to 57 in the greater Houston/Harris County area.

During the July press conference led by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Turner said though case numbers remained low, they still needed more vaccines to prevent a worsening public health crisis.

“If you wait too long then you’re chasing after a pandemic and in this case we don’t want to wait,” Turner said.

Less than three weeks later, the greater Houston area may be in that chase mode Turner and Hidalgo sought to avoid.

“WHO declared this a public health emergency,” said Hidalgo, during that July press conference. At that time, Hidalgo noted that all of Harris County’s then 57 cases were “men between the ages of 20 to 58.” At that time, the entire state reported 183 cases. To date, Houston / Harris County alone has surpassed that number.