The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Orange County, the Florida Department of Health reported on Friday.
While the total number of cases is relatively low, health officials confirmed 10 cases in Florida: eight in Broward County, one in Fort Myers, and the latest one detected in Orange County, Click Orlando reported.
The only information available regarding the case is that the person is between 35 and 39 years old and came in contact with the virus in Florida. Health officials said the person is isolated and receiving treatment.
Monkeypox is a virus linked to the same family as smallpox. The disease is primarily found in wild animals located in Central and West Africa. However, according to health experts, it can be transmitted to humans through close contact, per WebMD.
Dr. Jarod Fox, the chief of the infectious disease department at Orlando Health, has attempted to ease public fears by stating that the virus isn’t as contagious as other diseases.
“The good thing is it’s not an extremely infectious organism, so a lot of people are going to be scared but I don’t want them to be,” Fox said.
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed 35 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. since early June 2022, with over 1,000 nationwide.
Fox said the general public should be prepared for additional cases to be confirmed by state health officials.
“There will be at least a handful of cases just from the spread of that one individual and we may have other clusters of infections as well,” he said.
CDC plans to reach out to anyone who may have had contact with the person.
A person who is infected with the virus can pass it to another individual through the following:
- Contact with bodily fluids such as blood and semen.
- Contact with the infected person through lesions on their skin (inside their nose or mouth).
- The respiratory aerosols (droplets) released through breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing.
- Contact with personal items such as bedding and clothing containing bodily fluids from the infected person.
The virus can be transmitted to humans through infected animals if they bite or scratch, leaving open wounds on the skin.
Monkeypox symptoms usually appear within 1 or 2 weeks after exposure, with some cases taking up to 3 weeks before showing the following signs:
- Aching muscles
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Trouble breathing (in severe cases)
Experts affirm that monkeypox will remain at a manageable level compared to COVID-19, which originated in China in 2020.
“Let’s just say right off the top that monkeypox and COVID are not the same disease,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, head of Smallpox Secretariat at the World Health Organization, at a public Q&A session in May.