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Health News Florida

Monkeypox continues to spread in Florida as Orange County reports first case

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The WHO has planned an expert meeting this Thursday to decide if the expanding outbreak warrants being declared a global emergency.

The number of cases in Florida is up to 10, including eight in Broward and one in Collier.

The Florida Department of Health on Friday reported 10 monkeypox cases in the state, including eight in Broward County and one each in Orange and Collier counties.

 Dr. Jarod Fox, who runs the Infectious Diseases Department at Orlando Health, notes that the virus that causes the disease is not as contagious as COVID. It mainly spreads through close and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with sores, or bedding or clothes that have touched these sores. 

“It’s not going to just be casual contact that you’re going to be infected," Fox said. "It does require a prolonged close contact with an individual.” 

Many of the cases nationwide have been in men who have sex with men, although the World Health Organization says anyone can get or pass on monkeypox.  

Fox says the best form of prevention is to avoid kissing or sexual contact with someone whose been diagnosed with the virus.

“Be on heightened alert, especially in those populations that have been more affected by this at this time. So that we can try to prevent further spread in the population,” Fox said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday listed 113 monkeypox cases across 20 states and Washington, D.C.

Globally, more than 30 countries have reported 1,880 infections in countries that don’t typically report monkeypox, with 85% of cases in Europe. No deaths have been reported.

Until last month, monkeypox had only caused sizeable outbreaks in central and west Africa; the continent has so far reported more than 1,500 cases and 72 suspected deaths in a separate epidemic.

British health officials reported another 50 cases Friday, for a total of 574. That makes the U.K.’s outbreak the biggest to date beyond Africa.

Symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash on the face and mouth that spreads to the hands and feet. 

The World Health Organization has said people with monkeypox could be infectious for up to four weeks and advised them to isolate until they have completely recovered.

The WHO has planned an expert meeting this Thursday to decide if the expanding outbreak warrants being declared a global emergency. That would give it the same designation as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

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