The Florida Department of Health’s website now shows there are at least two cases of monkeypox in Orange County and at least one in Seminole County.
This comes just three days after the first Central Florida case was reported in Orange County Friday.
Records show the patient in the second Orange County case contracted the disease in Florida. That patient is in the age range of 40 to 44 years old, according to the state.
Health officials said the patient is being isolated and has already received treatment.
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It is unknown how the Seminole County patient contracted the virus, according to the health department. That patient is in the age range of 45 to 49 years old.
In all, Florida has 13 cases of the disease, according to the health department, with most of the cases — eight — in Broward County.
Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals, like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. It belongs to the same virus family as smallpox. Health leaders said monkeypox is an infection transmitted between animals and humans, with most cases reported in Central and West Africa.
Health officials are still investigating, but a top adviser to the World Health Organization said in May the leading theory behind the outbreak is that monkeypox was likely spread after sexual activity at two recent raves in Europe.
“The good thing is it’s not an extremely infectious organism, so a lot of people are going to be scared, but I don’t want them to be,” Dr. Jarod Fox, the chief of the infectious disease department at Orlando Health, said.
The CDC said monkeypox is rare, and the threat to the general population is low.
Symptoms to look out for include fever, headache, muscle and backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Health officials, however, stress monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19 and is rarely fatal.
Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor of epidemiology for the University of Washington, said that after the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more fearful of monkeypox than necessary.
“We don’t need to be scared. This is not going to spread as fast. We need to be calm,” Mokdad said. “Monkeypox is rare here in western countries. But, of course, it’s endemic in many countries and West Africa.
He also said that, unlike COVID-19, monkeypox is not new to health officials, and there are several treatments already on the market, such as vaccines.
“It’s not going to spread as fast as COVID-19, that’s one,” he said. “Precautions, of course, if someone is infected, please isolate yourself.”
The WHO will convene an emergency committee of experts on June 23 “because the virus has shown ‘unusual’ recent behavior by spreading in countries well beyond parts of Africa where it is endemic,” according to the Associated Press.
UPDATE: Seminole County Health reported one probable case in the county. According to the agency, the person is being isolated and treated for monkeypox. The department said it is waiting on the CDC to confirm the case.