Jacksonville, Florida. – distance The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concernNews4JAX spoke to a local infectious disease specialist to learn more about the spread of the infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has reported more than 2,800 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 44 states, the capital and Puerto Rico.
Globally, there are more than 16,500 cases reported in 74 countries with five deaths in Africa. Doctors say Europe is the epicenter of the outbreak.
As of Thursday, 247 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Florida. 124 cases have been reported in Broward County alone. Alachua County is reporting one case so far.
Dr. Mohammad Reza said the total number of cases is still too low.
“The reality is that the number of infections is likely to be underestimated, just because of the limited knowledge. First of all, limited testing capabilities. We don’t have a lot of labs doing these tests,” said Reza.
The initial symptoms of monkeypox are swollen lymph nodes, back pain, muscle pain, lack of energy, and headache.
A rash follows these symptoms and lesions can appear on the face, arms, and legs. Usually, these lesions will disappear within two to three weeks and then the person will be no longer contagious.
Unlike COVID-19, there are already treatment options for monkeypox. One of these is the smallpox vaccine.
There are antiviral drugs, but Reza said testing can be difficult.
“Just like diagnosing COVID-19 was difficult at first, we’re kind of on the move. But unlike COVID-19, this is not contagious and we hope it isn’t severe either.
Reda said this virus is something people shouldn’t be afraid of. Instead, he suggests people arm themselves with knowledge.
“If you see this in your loved one, beware, and get help. Talk to your provider and see what can be done,” Raza said.
The monkeypox virus can be spread through contact with body fluids, sores, or objects such as clothing and bedding that are contaminated with the virus. It can also spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, usually nearby, according to the CDC.
More cases this year have been in men who have had sex with men, and public health officials are focusing their preventive efforts on this group.
Raza also said that monkeypox can spread to pets, so it is recommended that they be quarantined as well if you are infected.
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