ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – State Rep. Carlos Smith, D-Orlando, hosted an online “community health update” on meningococcal disease and monkeypox outbreaks in Florida.
The seminar streamed on Facebook and YouTube and featured Orange County health officials, including:
- Dr. Raul Pino, Director at Orange County Health Services Department
- Alvina Chu, Director at Division of Infectious Diseases for Florida Department of Health in Orange County
- Dr. George Wallace, Executive Director at LGBTQ+ Center Orlando
Smith said that there’s “no reason to panic,” as health officials are already aware of how to prevent the spread of these diseases.
Officials in the seminar discussed protective measures against meningococcal disease and monkeypox, which they said pose greater risks for gay and bisexual men, though the diseases can affect anyone, regardless of orientation.
“It’s not a gay disease. Anyone can get it,” Smith said. “But LGBTQ people, particularly gay and bi men, are at higher risk of getting it.”
Smith added that the event was timely, and he plans to host more in the future.
“This is a crisis you might not have heard a lot about... because there really has not been enough awareness about meningococcal disease and this monkeypox outbreak that has gotten enough people’s attention,” he said.
The Florida Department of Health reported 105 new cases of monkeypox thus far in July.
Men traveling to Florida are advised to get vaccinated to prevent transmission.