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Health officials recommend Club Dallas visitors monitor for monkeypox symptoms after reported case

An out-of-state visitor infected with monkeypox had multiple sexual encounters at Club Dallas' sauna between June 22-25, Dallas County Health & Human Services said.

DALLAS — Dallas County Health & Human Services is asking for the community to monitor for monkeypox virus symptoms after an out-of-state visitor with monkeypox had multiple sexual encounters at a Dallas club in June. 

Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches before developing a rash.

The infected person self-identifies as a man who has sex with other men, according to Dallas County health officials. The health department added monkeypox can affect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation. 

The traveler was infectious while visiting the sauna at Club Dallas between June 22-25.

Thursday's announcement comes one day after the county announced its first locally transmitted monkeypox case. 

"We're definitely watching this very closely," Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said. 

Health officials said that separate case from earlier this week was an out-of-state visitor who was in town for the Daddyland Festival over the Fourth of July weekend. 

According to officials, the person in that earlier case reported attendance at the festival and other private parties. The visitor went to a Dallas hospital with a rash and was diagnosed with the virus through lab testing. 

"Now having someone who tested positive, who attended that event also, [we] want to make sure that everyone is aware and watching for symptoms," Dr. Huang said. 

Before this week, Dallas County had previously reported four monkeypox cases among residents. All four cases were reported by self-identified men who had sex with other men. 

But as Dr. Huang pointed out Thursday, contracting monkeypox is "not isolated to those groups."

The department said monkeypox can impact anyone and can spread through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores and shared items that are contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox. 

"Monkeypox is not an LGBTQIA disease," said Rafael McDonnell, the senior advocacy, policy and communications director at Resource Center, which is based in Dallas. 

Resource Center provides services and programs for LGBTQ+ communities across the area. McDonnell said they're continuing to educate the community about monkeypox and have put out information on social media. 

"It happens that these initial cases have been in cases of men who've had sex with men, but again, close contact and sexual conduct are closely related, but not the same thing," McDonnell said.

Dallas County health officials didn’t release specific details on how any of the cases contracted monkeypox.

"A crowded bar, a crowded club, a crowded concert venue: We all just have to be careful and watchful and mindful of where we are, where we go and who we're going with," McDonnell said.

Due to limited vaccine availability, Dr. Huang told WFAA they are only giving shots to those who have come into close contact with an infected person.

DCHHS hopes to get more monkeypox vaccines soon, officials said Thursday.

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