Health experts have been sounding the alarm about monkeypox for the past couple of months, while also telling everyone not to panic.
Monkeypox is not a potentially fatal disease like COVID-19, and it’s much harder to transmit than COVID-19.
However, in the eight weeks since the first monkeypox case turned up in Broward County, the health department says there have been at least 53 cases in Broward and at least 15 in Miami-Dade County.
“It’s transmitted through many ways, first and foremost, close contact with someone who’s infected, prolonged contact, also if the rash itself is weeping, there’s fluids coming out and you have prolonged contact with that, that’s another form of transmission in addition to close sexual contact as well,” said Dr. Aldo CALVO of Broward Health Medical Center. “Monkeypox is not as dangerous as covid 19, nor influenza, you do have similar symptoms of fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands, the difference is a rash.”
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So far, the most at-risk population appears to be gay men.
“Monkeypox is not an LGBT virus,” said Robert Boo of the Pride Center in Wilton Manors.
That’s true, the virus can infect anyone, but because this outbreak originated among European gay men, and then traveled to the United States in that community, it’s mostly spreading within that group.
It’s not fatal, but monkeypox causes illness serious enough to take precautions against it.
The Pride Center is offering free vaccinations next week.
Starting Tuesday, anyone can get a shot to protect against the disease at 2040 North Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors, from noon to 8 p.m. through next Friday, and from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday afternoon.
“We are taking this step to protect the community and ensure that the spread that is already existing contains, just like covid, the more you know, the more education, the more precautions you can take, the less the spread, we’re just trying to contain it,” Boo said.