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First Suspected Case Of Monkeypox In Broward, Warning Signs

MIAMI - The Florida Department of Health-Broward and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the first presumptive case of monkeypox in Broward.

They said the person is isolated and this was related to travel. So far, they have not identified any additional cases.

"Let's sort of take a breath and realize that this is a zoonotic disease of the kind that has not, historically, spread easily from person to person," said Dr. Aileen Marty, Florida International University's infectious disease specialist.

Clusters of monkeypox began being reported globally just over a week ago.

"There are two major clads, we call them clads, of monkeypox. One clad is from the Congo basin area, that clad is very dangerous, that clad we really don't want to see. Then there's a clad from West Africa and that's the one that is circulating," said Dr. Marty.

The state department has told health care providers what to watch out for in cases.

"Back pain is very common, muscles hurt, we call that myalgia, all of that is going on. That may last, you know, two, three, four days, then you get the rash and the rash from monkeypox distributes itself the same way as the rash from smallpox. It starts on your face and on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet," said Dr. Marty.

The state health department said that the risk of exposure is low since it requires contact with lesions or items that have been contaminated by lesions.

Eighty cases have been confirmed worldwide. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed in Massachusetts last week, with the CDC monitoring other suspected cases. Although the disease belongs to the same virus family as smallpox its symptoms are milder.

"Because smallpox, even though it was eradicated in 1980, has been a weaponizable agent, many governments including the United States kept working on making sure we had antivirals and vaccines if, God forbid, somebody actually used a smallpox weapon," said Dr. Marty.

The Biden administration said a vaccine is available to be rolled out, it's currently not the kind of vaccine you can get easily from a doctor's office.

If you have received the smallpox vaccine, there is likely cross-protection against monkeypox.

If for some reason you know you've been exposed, call a doctor so they can request the vaccine.

People usually recover within two to four weeks, without needing to be hospitalized. However, for some people with health complications, the disease could be deadly.

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