- Global leaders will discuss declaring a global health emergency amid the proliferating spread of monkeypox
- Florida is a state with one of the highest case counts, trailing only New York, California, and Illinois – all states with a densely-populated city
- Rep. Charlie Crist wrote to the Biden administration requesting rapid improvement in federal response to the outbreak
Global health leaders will delegate in late July to decide whether it is necessary to declare that the small-scale, but growing, spread of monkeypox is a global health emergency. Stateside, Florida is among the hardest-hit states alongside similarly populated states New York, California, and Illinois.
According to state health data, the rare illness endemic to Central and West Africa has spread to 12 Floridian counties, with the majority occurring in South Florida. Broward County accounts for the highest concentration with 90 cases while Miami-Dade trails closely behind with 22.
Human-to-human transmission generally requires prolonged, face-to-face contact, direct contact with an active rash, or indirect contact with an active rash through contaminated items, such as contaminated clothing. Therefore, the risk of exposure remains low, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The risk of monkeypox to the general public is generally low, though vaccines used for smallpox have been shown to be effective in preventing monkeypox.
Amid reports that the Florida vaccine supply is not keeping up with the demand, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden urging rapid improvements in the federal response to the growing Monkeypox outbreak in Florida.
“I have heard the same concerns over and over again from constituents, friends, community leaders, and providers across Florida. People can’t get tested, can’t get vaccinated, and can’t get any answers,” said Crist. “We spent the first year of the COVID pandemic fighting a disease we couldn’t treat or vaccinate against. Well, guess what? For Monkeypox, we HAVE a vaccine, we HAVE treatment, and we HAVE tests. We can – and must – be doing more to keep this illness from spreading.”
Crist’s suggestions include the instating of a monkeypox czar, the implementation of a centralized agency, and an improvement of tracing and testing. Crist compared the current state of monkeypox to the early stages of COVID-19 in February 2020, claiming that the virus was able to rapidly spread due to a lack of early testing and identification.
“We all know that COVID-19 effectively seeded the United States in February 2020 due to a lack of early, targeted testing and tracing. Similarly, Monkeypox has been spreading throughout the United States for the last two months,” Crist wrote. “I am hearing from constituents who suspect they’ve been exposed to Monkeypox but cannot get a Monkeypox test until they’ve tested negative for every other possible pathogen. By the time a positive Monkeypox test is returned, it is too late for treatment, too late for post-exposure prophylaxis, and too late for useful contact tracing. The publishing of timely, detailed, location-based data on positive tests and vaccine administration is imperative for preventing the spread.”