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Broward County may have Florida’s first case of monkeypox

A person who was traveling internationally may have contracted the first case of monkeypox detected in Florida.
Monkeypox has been identified by European and American health authorities in recent days.
Monkeypox has been identified by European and American health authorities in recent days. [ CYNTHIA S. GOLDSMITH, RUSSELL REGNER | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | AP ]
Published May 23|Updated May 23

A person has been isolated after a presumptive case of monkeypox was diagnosed, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County announced Sunday afternoon.

Jeremy Redfern, a Florida Department of Health spokesperson at the state level, said the specimen taken from the person will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation and this is the only presumed positive case in the state.

“This case is related to international travel, and the person remains isolated,” the Health Department in Broward said. “At this time, DOH-Broward has not identified any additional cases.”

But the department is investigating, along with the CDC to find and notify other people who might’ve been exposed.

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

Friday’s CDC health advisory

That said, there have been clumps of monkeypox cases around the world recently. On Wednesday, a person in Massachusetts was confirmed to have monkeypox. On Friday, the CDC issued a health advisory.

“Since May 14, 2022, clusters of monkeypox cases have been reported in several countries that don’t normally have monkeypox,” the advisory stated. “Although previous cases outside of Africa have been associated with travel from Nigeria, most of the recent cases do not have direct travel-associated exposure risks.”

The advisory asked medical professionals to pay special attention for “firm, well circumscribed, deep-seated, and umbilicated lesions” indicative of monkeypox.

“Some recent cases have begun with characteristic, monkeypox-like lesions in the genital and (anal) region, in the absence of subjective fever and other prodromal symptoms,” the CDC said. “For this reason, cases may be confused with more commonly seen infections (e.g., syphilis, chancroid, herpes, and varicella zoster).

“The average incubation period for symptom onset is 5–13 days.”

The CDC says go to your medical professional for a risk assessment if you:

  • Have been to countries where monkeypox cases have been reported.
  • Have had contact with a person who has a similar rash or has been confirmed as having or suspected of having monkeypox.
  • Are a man who has had “close or intimate in-person contact with other men in the past month, including through an online website, app or at a bar or party.”

There is no vaccine for monkeypox. The Florida Department of Health says the smallpox vaccine should provide cross-protection, but routine vaccination against smallpox hasn’t happened since the early 1970s, after smallpox was all but eliminated.

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Herald staff writer Omar Rodriguez Ortiz supplied information for this story.

• • •

How to get tested

Tampa Bay: The Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in the bay area.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The U.S.: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

• • •

How to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Here’s how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.

• • •

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OMICRON VARIANT: Omicron changed what we know about COVID. Here’s the latest on how the infectious COVID-19 variant affects masks, vaccines, boosters and quarantining.

KIDS AND VACCINES: Got questions about vaccinating your kid? Here are some answers.

BOOSTER SHOTS: Confused about which COVID booster to get? This guide will help.

BOOSTER QUESTIONS: Are there side effects? Why do I need it? Here’s the answers to your questions.

PROTECTING SENIORS: Here’s how seniors can stay safe from the virus.

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