PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Department of Health in Pinellas County held a online update for monkeypox on Wednesday afternoon.
The agency reported 208 cases statewide. Three in Hillsborough County, two in Polk, one in Sarasota and nine in Pinellas county. Florida accounts for about 10% of all monkeypox cases reported in the U.S.
“Eventually I’m thinking we will see a case of monkeypox here even though we have not had any yet,” said Dr. Ava Dobin, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital.
“I am not concerned because it is not easily transmitted like COVID-19,” she said.
Early stages of the infection are similar to flu-like symptoms, then a rash begins to develop. Dobin said the risk of exposure remains low.
“It spreads through extremely close contact, like people sleeping together sharing the same bed linen,” she said.
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) said the monkeypox vaccines are coming from the national strategic stockpile. So far, the agency has received 25,000 doses. The agency said it is prioritizing distributing the vaccines to counties with the most cases, as well as at-risk communities.
Dr. Ulyee Choe, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, said the current outbreak is mild and no deaths associated with the disease have been reported in the U.S.
Dr. Choe said testing is now more widely available in the state, so he is expecting to see more cases.
If you are showing symptoms or have the rash associated with monkeypox, call your doctor immediately. FDOH performs contact tracing.