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Second presumptive case of monkeypox in Broward under investigation

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Health officials says the risk of transmission remains low.

Health officials in Broward County on Monday said they are investigating a second presumptive case of monkeypox.

The patient is isolated, and the risk of exposure remains low, the Florida Department of Health in Broward said in a news release.

The county health department said it is working with the state Bureau of Epidemiology to notify close contacts and offer steps to prevent potential spread.

“It’s something we should be aware of, but not something we should alter our way of life for,” Broward Health interim chief medical officer. Dr. Joshua Lenchus said during a news conference Monday.

People who received the smallpox vaccine are more likely to be protected against monkeypox, the agency said.

The health department on Sunday announced it was investigating the county's first presumptive case. That person was also in isolation.

So far in the U.S., one case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Massachusetts. A few more are suspected in New York, Utah and Washington state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Like in Broward, the cases reportedly involve people who have recently traveled abroad.

In a new case, health officials in Seattle reported a presumptive infection involving a man who traveled to a country that has had recent cases.

Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. The disease is rarely identified outside of Africa, but as of Friday, there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide and another 50 suspected ones.

The virus usually spreads from person to person through sustained, skin-to-skin contact with someone with rashes or lesions.

"What we're talking about here is close contact. It's not a situation where if you're passing someone in the grocery store, they're going to be at risk for monkeypox,"," Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC's division of high consequence pathogens and pathology, said at a briefing.

And while anyone can contract or spread the virus, health officials say many of the people affected identify as gay or bisexual men.

"Monkeypox appears to be circulating globally in parts of the gay community," says Dr. John Brooks, medical epidemiologist with the CDC's division of HIV prevention.

In the recent cases, Brooks says the rash "is showing up in different parts of the body than we'd typically expect to see it," in some cases in the genital area. He wants health care providers to be aware that people coming in for a sexually transmitted disease evaluation may need to be checked for monkeypox, if there's been an exposure.

Information from the Sun-Sentinel, NPR and the Associated Press was used in this report.

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.