FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency this weekend. It’s the second time in two years that officials have taken that extraordinary step.
“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO.
More than 16,000 monkeypox cases have been detected across 75 countries, with five deaths in Africa.
“Right now, we have over 2,000 cases, but we have ramped up vaccinations, ramped up treatments, ramped up testing and we’re gonna continue to look at all sorts of policy,” White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control shows 247 cases in Florida over the past week, with South Florida being the epicenter.
“Monkeypox has been identified in almost every single state. Florida is one the highest reported states,” Rachel Guran, of Memorial Healthcare, said.
Broward County has the highest case number at 129, according to the state health department, while Miami-Dade County has 71 cases of monkeypox.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, fatigue and painful rashes. Doctors say the majority of the cases so far are found in men who have sex with other men.
With vaccine demand high and supply low, officials warn monkeypox can be easily transmitted to other demographic groups.
“As of now there is a limited supply and it’s important that we focus on those individuals who are at highest risk,” said Dr. Patrick Kenney with Cleveland Clinic Weston.
Monkeypox spreads through skin-to-skin contact, but it is not as contagious as COVID-19. That’s why doctors are not recommending everyone rush to get the vaccine.
Vaccination appointments in Broward County can be made online by visiting vaccineappointmentbroward.com.
Vaccination appointments in Miami-Dade can be made online by visiting https://book.appointment-plus.com/d6b7yl3g#/. Walk-ins will not be accepted.