The Phoenix Flyer

Cases of serious bacterial illness, monkeypox, on the rise in FL and elsewhere

By: - June 8, 2022 3:31 pm

Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. Credit: CDC

Cases of a serious and sometimes deadly infection known as meningococcal disease continue to climb in Florida, with 39 people infected in 15 counties in the outbreak, an increase since late May.

Central Florida still leads in the number of reported cases, with 12 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in Orange County, as of Tuesday, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health. As previously reported by the Florida Phoenix, 32 cases were confirmed in 13 counties.

Other counties with confirmed cases of the meningococcal disease include Leon (3), in the state capital; Duval (1) in North Florida; Lake (3), Seminole (2), Osceola (1) and Brevard (2), all surrounding Orange County; Miami-Dade (3), Broward (2), Palm Beach (1), all in South Florida; Lee (3) in Southwest Florida; Hardee (1), Hillsborough (1) and Polk (3), also in Central Florida; and Collier (1).

“The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and bloodstream infection, both of which can quickly become deadly,” stated the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC warned about a 2022 outbreak of the meningococcal disease, which can cause fever, headache, and stiff neck.

Although cases of meningococcal have been seen in various age groups, state data show, more young residents have been infected, as of Tuesday. For instance, the most cases [7] have been reported among the 30-34 age group, followed by six cases each identified in age groups of 20-24 and 25-29.

CDC officials have urged certain high-risk groups to get a vaccine against meningococcal disease, including “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.”

Monkeypox cases

Monkeypox, which is endemic to African countries, has been identified in the United States. Credit: CDC

The CDC also been tracking monkeypox, a rare disease endemic in several Central and West African countries that can cause a characteristic rash. But the virus has been expanding in the United States and around the world.

Overall, data from the CDC show 35 cases of monkeypox in 15 states, including Florida, plus the District of Columbia — an increase from just 21 cases in 11 states reported last week by federal health officials.

New York has the highest case count [8] in the U.S., followed by California [7] and Florida reported four cases of monkeypox. However, state health department data show only three confirmed cases in Florida. The CDC report is based on data as of Tuesday.

(The CDC did say: “One Florida case is listed here but included in the United Kingdom case counts because the individual was tested while in the UK.”).

On the global front, the CDC reported 1,088 cases of monkeypox in 29 countries, also based on data from Tuesday.

In addition, the CDC raised the monkeypox travel alert to what’s called a “Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions.” Under the alert, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid contact with “dead or live wild animals,” as well as avoid “close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions.”

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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.