PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Health experts are sounding the alarm about monkeypox as the CDC is reporting 373 cases in the Sunshine State and people have a lot of questions as doctors say South Florida becomes a hot spot.
“Monkeypox is around. It’s growing exponentially and that’s the concern we have,” said Dr. Kleper De Almeida MD and Infectious Disease Specialist at JFK Medical Center.
“Actually, I don’t know much about monkeypox, but I’d like to learn,” said Martin Hamilton, who has questions about monkeypox.
Julian Mullings also has concerns.
“The first things I would like to know is how long will it last and what are the other ways to get it?” Mullings said.
In Palm Beach County, the numbers have risen with a total of 18 confirmed cases since Friday night.
“I have no idea what the symptoms are. I think it’s much more serious than COVID, if you catch it, you’re in trouble,” said Thomas Witkop, who also has questions about monkeypox.
“The symptoms people have are usually fever, body aches, swollen glands followed by the appearance of a rash,” De Almeida said.
De Almeida said people can develop sticky bumps on their skin that are said to be painful, spread simply by being in close contact with people.
“It can affect anyone because when someone has a skin lesion, they can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets, so people who are in close contact with them, family members, friends, partners can get the infection even if they don’t have it directly. contact with another’s skin,” said De Almeida.
He said a person is only contagious while having skin lesions, which can last up to 4 weeks.
“I think it’s important that people who have these skin lesions come in and get checked because it allows us to identify them, isolate them, ask who they’ve been in contact with, contact those people , to vaccinate them and prevent the spread – said De Almeida.
Vaccines are in short supply in health departments right now, so, for now, they are only available to people who are most at risk, those who have been exposed to someone with the virus.
“The companies that make these vaccines are two different vaccines, they’re ramping up production with the expectation that more people would be candidates for the vaccine moving forward if we’re not able to contain this epidemic,” De Almeida said.
The Palm Beach Health Department is offering the shots to those high-risk groups, and hotspot counties like Broward and Miami-Dade are booking appointments online for people looking to get vaccinated.