Florida surpasses 1,500 cases of monkeypox

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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Florida has now surpassed 1,500 cases of monkeypox.

While the majority are in Miami-Dade (553) and Broward counties (465), the first positive monkeypox case in a child under the age of 4 was confirmed in Martin County.

Dr. Genon Wicina, a pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic on the Treasure Coast, said the recent news that a child under 4 tested positive in Martin County for monkeypox should remind people to be aware of the disease, though the risk to children is low.

"It is still pretty rare for children to get this," said Wicina. "The transmission rate is not very high unless they've had direct contact with another person who has had monkeypox."

Wicina said monkeypox does not present side effects or long-term effects, and that it looks like a lot of other childhood rashes they see.

Health officials in Martin County said they can't add any more specifics about this child's case.

"The cases that involve especially young children are usually due to household contacts," said Dr. Ulyee Choe, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

He said the state has a robust surveillance program looking at whether the age demographics change among monkeypox patients.

"From what I've reviewed in some of the literature and expert opinions, they don't believe that the schools, especially K-12, aren't going to be big drivers of this," said Choe.

Wicina said if parents see something on his or her child that concerns them, they should contact their health care provider.

"The best advice is to cover the rash and isolate the children from places like school until they know what it might be," added Wicina.

The State Health Department has reported 1,586 cases statewide, including 83 in Palm Beach County, 7 in Martin, 6 in St. Lucie and the first one in Okeechobee.

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