‘Presumptive’ case of monkeypox found in Florida

Small Child with Monkeypox – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by pavodam

Florida health officials are working diligently to investigate a “presumptive” case of monkeypox–making Florida the third possible state in the U.S. to be hit by the disease after cases were found in New York City and Massachusetts.

The Florida Department of Health in Broward County announced on Sunday that the infected person has been isolated and that the case is related to international travel.

According to Health Department spokesman Jeremy Redfern, a specimen taken from the patient will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing and confirmation.

No additional cases have been identified in the Sunshine State so far, but the department is investigating along with the CDC about any possible exposure by others, the department said.

“Human-to-human transmission generally requires prolonged, face-to-face contact, direct contact with lesion materials, or indirect contact with lesion materials through contaminated items, such as contaminated clothing,” it said.

“Therefore, the risk of exposure remains low,” the department added.

Just this Friday, the CDC issued a health advisory after cases appeared in the Big Apple and Massachusetts, where a patient with symptoms arrived at Bellevue Hospital.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said its health lab will begin a preliminary test for monkeypox. If the results appear positive, they will be sent to the CDC.

The first case in the U.S. this year was identified in Massachusetts. The disease has been found in several other countries with over 100 possible cases identified throughout the world so far.

Symptoms of the virus include swelling of the lymph nodes, a flu-like illness, and a rash on the body and face. 

On Sunday, President Biden said the increasing spread of monkeypox is something many should “be concerned about.”

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” he told reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea before boarding Air Force One for a flight to Japan.

Later, Biden sought to calm fears about the recent instances, suggesting that rigorous quarantine measures were unnecessary.

”I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19,” he said in Tokyo on Monday.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the U.S. is ready and has a “supply of vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox.”

The disease belongs to the same family as smallpox, but its symptoms are much milder. Those affected usually recover within two to four weeks without a need for hospitalization, but the disease can be deadly on occasion.

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