The Phoenix Flyer

U.S. Rep. Crist concerned about monkeypox cases likely to be higher than reported

By: - July 29, 2022 9:33 pm

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

In a letter to Florida’s Surgeon General, Congressman Charlie Crist expressed concerns Friday about what’s being done to slow the spread of monkeypox.

“I am hearing from gay and bisexual Floridians that they are experiencing difficulty getting tested, which means the number of cases is likely higher than those reported,” Crist wrote to Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who oversees the Florida Department of Health.

The agency “needs to take immediate action to slow the spread of the outbreak,” Crist wrote.

As of Friday, the state health department reported nearly 400 monkeypox cases, mostly in South Florida and other large urban enclaves.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Crist, a Democrat in the U.S. House, also is a gubernatorial candidate in 2022 and will face a primary in August. He is a former Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner.

In his letter to Ladapo Friday, Crist noted that the Biden Administration has made 736,620 additional doses of Jynneos, and the federal government has allocated 72,900 for Floridians, for a total of 109,283 to date.

“It is now your responsibility to immediately order the full amount made available to Floridians and get those shots into the arms of high-risk individuals, particularly gay and bisexual men and people living with HIV,” Crist wrote.

The letter also made clear that monkeypox is not only about LGBTQ Floridians, Crist wrote, saying, “uncontrolled community spread threatens us all.”

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.