A child younger than 5 has tested positive for monkeypox in Florida, state data show.
The child lives in Martin County and is newborn to 4 years old, according to preliminary data from Florida’s Reportable Diseases Frequency Report.
Eight Florida teenagers between 15 and 19 are also considered to be confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox, according to state data. Two of the teens live in Broward and three live in Miami-Dade. The other teens live in Lee and Leon counties.
Dr. Ulyee Choe, the state’s medical director, who also serves as the director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, said during a Tuesday news conference that monkeypox cases in young children, based on national data, usually stem from exposure to someone in the household who is infected. He didn’t provide any additional details about the child or teen cases in Florida.
“In terms of schools, you have to keep in mind that it’s not readily transmissible. It needs that direct skin-to-skin type of contact. From what I’ve reviewed in some of the literature and some of the expert opinions, they don’t believe that schools, especially K-12, are going to be big drivers of this,” Choe said. “But with that being said, I can tell you that the majority of the school districts throughout the state have protocols in place for children that present with rash.”
Florida has 1,317 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox, according to state data. Miami-Dade and Broward have the most reported cases in the state.
What is monkeypox? How does it spread?
Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, though milder and less fatal. Many of the cases in the current outbreak involve men who have sex with men, but anyone can get the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United States has more than 11,800 confirmed cases of monkeypox.
Both the U.S. and the World Health Organization have declared a public health emergency over the disease.
Monkeypox can spread through direct and intimate contact, such as hugging, kissing and sex, by contact with the rash, body fluids, respiratory secretions or by touching contaminated objects, such as clothing and bedding, according to the CDC.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently granted emergency use authorization to let children under 18 who are considered high risk for monkeypox infection to get vaccinated with the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.
The map, which uses CDC data, automatically updates and may have a lag.