Florida health officials are investigating a “presumptive” case of monkeypox — making the Sunshine State the third possible US state to be hit by the disease after cases were reported in Massachusetts and New York City.
The Florida Department of Health in Broward County announced Sunday that the case is related to international travel and the infected person has been isolated.
A specimen from the patient will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, Health Department spokesman Jeremy Redfern said, the Miami Herald reported.
No additional cases have been identified so far in Florida, but the department is investigating along with the CDC about 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.
On Friday, the CDC issued a health advisory after cases were found in Massachusetts and the Big Apple, where a patient with symptoms arrived at Bellevue Hospital.
The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said its health lab will conduct a preliminary test for monkeypox. If the results are positive, the samples will be sent to the CDC.
The first case in the US this year was identified Tuesday in Massachusetts. The disease has been found in other countries with more than 100 possible cases identified globally so far.
Symptoms of the virus include a flu-like illness, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a rash on the face and body.
On Sunday, President Biden said the increasing spread of monkeypox is something “to 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.
Biden later sought to calm concerns about the recent cases, saying he did not see the need to institute strict quarantine measures.
”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 the US is prepared and has a supply of “vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox.”
Although the disease belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, its symptoms are milder. People usually recover within two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized, but the disease occasionally is deadly.
With Post wires