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Monkeypox Cases Surge in Florida

As students return to school for the third time since the COVID-19 lockdown, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox a public health emergency in a 6-9 vote after a large trend in cases occurred in late March. 

Monkeypox is known as a viral infection that is closely related to smallpox. Although the first human cases were reported in Africa in 1970, the first identification dates back to 1958 when the disease was found in monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark. According to the CDC, an estimated total of 16,900 worldwide cases have been detected as of August 25th in eighty-three countries. 

In order to come in contact with monkeypox, one must have been in direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. Monkeypox could also be spread through surfaces, intimate contact, and respiratory secretions. Although the disease is mostly transmitted from person to person, animals run the possibility of contaminating humans if infected. 

Despite the fact that deaths from monkeypox have been rare, symptoms are said to be a difficult process both mentally and physically. One exposed to the disease may experience painful pimple-resembling rashes throughout their body that go through several stages before they heal. Other effects include respiratory issues, exhaustion, headaches, and muscle aches. These symptoms tend to last anywhere from two to four weeks. 

Meanwhile, Florida’s monkeypox case count reaches the thousands, joining New York and California in the list with the highest number of confirmed cases. Amongst the counties, both Miami-Dade and Broward are experiencing the most confirmations and are currently struggling to provide vaccinations. 

Earlier this month, Biden’s administration authorized Jynneos, a vaccine, to be administered to individuals at a higher risk. It is taken in two doses and is normally effective two weeks after the second dose. 

“Monkeypox is here in Miami-Dade, but we are ready to respond and protect our community,” stated Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cara in a press conference at a vaccination site in Miami Beach on Wednesday, August 10th. “If you are eligible, we encourage you to get vaccinated against monkeypox.” 

Although schools are taking precautions, monkeypox is not as common in kids as it is in adults. Fortunately, the virus is not as contagious as COVID-19, and has no reports of children passing it on to each other.

To ensure you and those around you are protected, there are multiple precautions you could take to slow the spread of the disease. This includes avoiding intimate interactions, being in close contact with one who has symptoms, and avoiding sharing or touching surfaces they have been around. It is also imperative that you keep your hands away from your face and wash them as often as you can.

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