Monkeypox outbreak: Cases climb to 9 in FL; health officials to decide on public health emergency

WHO organization pursues a name change for the disease

By: - June 16, 2022 12:55 pm

Monkeypox virus. Credit: CDC.

With monkeypox expanding in the United States and globally, Florida has climbed to nine cases, according to the state Department of Health. Eight of the cases are in Broward County in South Florida and one in Southwest Collier County, on the Gulf side of the peninsula.

Global health officials are assessing whether to declare monkeypox as a public health emergency, according to the World Health Organization, and the officials plan to change the name of the rare disease that has been endemic in several Central and West African countries but now circulating globally.

The disease oftentimes causes a characteristic rash and other symptoms. The name change relates to scientists criticizing monkeypox as “discriminatory and stigmatizing,” as reported by NPR news.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 83 cases of monkeypox across 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, as of Wednesday. California and New York have the most cases (16), followed by Illinois (10), Florida (9) and Hawaii (5).

Globally, there have been 2,027 confirmed cases in 36 countries, according to the CDC’s global 2022 map. Previously, the CDC reported 1,879 confirmed cases in 35 countries.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech earlier this week and posted on its website:

“The global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning. It’s for that reason that I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”

In an email to the Florida Phoenix, a CDC spokesperson didn’t say whether the agency is involved in the global public health emergency process, but the WHO organization “declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).”

Meanwhile, following the CDC’s warning of monkeypox disproportionately impacting the LGBTQ+ community, LGBTQ community leaders in Broward County have called an “emergency town hall in Wilton Manors on Thursday night to try to curb the spread,” according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The news outlet wrote: “Broward LGBTQ leaders said they believe there is cause for concern leading into the Stonewall Pride Parade this weekend.”

It added: “We know there will be large gatherings and likely higher sexual activity,” said David Jobin, president and CEO of Our Fund Foundation. “We want the community to celebrate but use caution.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.

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