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Leon County has its first case of monkeypox

An illustration of a virus in its cellular form
Leon County has recorded its first case of monkeypox

Leon County has recorded its first case of monkeypox, according to the Florida Department of Health-Leon. The department issued the announcement Saturday in a statement. It did not provide any additional information aside from the fact it was a Leon County resident who contracted the virus.

This is the first case recorded in the Big Bend region. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s database, as of 10 p.m. Saturday, there were slightly more than 7,500 cases in the United States, and 633 in Florida.

"The risk of monkeypox to the general population remains low," the Department said in its statement.

The announcement Saturday comes just days after President Joe Biden’s administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a declaration that triggers additional resources and funding to address the problem.

According to the CDC, monkeypox spreads mostly through skin-to-skin contact such as:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

It can also be spread through sexual activities such as:

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals of a person with monkeypox.
  • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.

A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

The illness typically lasts between two and four weeks. Symptoms are likely to begin anywhere from 7-14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. Those symptoms include” fever, muscle aches, painful rashes or lesions, and exhaustion.

In areas of the world where there is poor or little access to healthcare, the virus can be fatal, however, there have only been five deaths recorded worldwide so far, and none of them have been in the U.S.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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