Health worker administers a vaccination against monkeypox. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
With more than 2,000 monkeypox cases now reported in Florida, global health officials on Wednesday acknowledged a downward trend in cases in some countries but warned that it’s too early to give up on public health protections.
Officials from the World Health Organization, which has been monitoring the health crisis, explained during a virtual press conference that countries should remain vigilant about the disease, which can cause a painful rash and other symptoms, some fatal.
Overall, 2,148 cases have been reported in Florida across 39 counties as of Wednesday, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. Most infections have been in South Florida, with Miami-Dade County reporting 760 and Broward County reporting 619.
That said, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, recommended that health officials across the globe “persist with a tailored combination of public health measures, testing, research, and targeted vaccination, where vaccines are available.”
The WHO as well as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that vaccines against monkeypox should be targeted toward members of high-risk groups. Although anyone can contract the virus, officials note that most cases have afflicted men who have sex with men.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it has expanded distribution of the Jynneos vaccine and treatments against the virus “to communities at the greatest risk of monkeypox infections,” according to a press release.
Ghebreyesus of WHO said during the press event Wednesday that “cases from the Americas also declined last week” but “it’s harder to draw firm conclusions about the epidemic in that region.”
“Some countries in the Americas continue to report increasing numbers of cases, and in some there is likely to be under-reporting due to stigma and discrimination, or a lack of information for those who need it most,” Ghebreyesus said.
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