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Mpox was a big problem in Florida. Now, not so much. What happened?

A patient receives the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is used to fight MPOX.
Christian Emmer
Creative Commons License
A patient receives the Jynneos vaccine, which is used to fight mpox.

Health leaders are pleased with a dramatic drop in mpox cases in Orange County and throughout Florida compared to rates observed last year.

Health leaders are pleased with a dramatic drop in mpox cases in Orange County and throughout Florida compared to rates observed last year.

It’s been one year since mpox cases peaked in both the state and in Orange County. Health experts expressed concerns about a widespread disease, but since the peak, mpox has barely been a blip for either the county or state. Orange saw a total of 299 cases of mpox in 2022, according to the Florida Department of Health.

A third of Orange County’s case total last year occurred in August. However, only four cases have been documented this year in Orange, and zero have been reported in the last two months.

A total of 2,856 cases were reported in Florida last year. This year, the state has documented 48.

A widespread mpox development was avoided thanks to the state Department of Health’s education efforts, as well as affected populations taking the disease seriously, said Michelle Persaud the Orange County epidemiology program manager.

“The vaccine promotion is working as well as the community outreach and education that we were able to reach a vast majority of individuals who wanted to get vaccinated, that got vaccinated,” she said

While the threat is low, the department hasn’t stopped keeping an eye on mpox cases, Persaud said.

“The Florida Department of Health in Orange County actively monitors mpox cases and we continue our outreach efforts within the community to educate and vaccinate,” she said.

Who was affected?

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Black people made up the majority of national mpox cases comprising 32% of infections. About 31% were Latino, 29% were white, 3% were Asian and the rest were another race.

In Florida, the age group most affected were those in the 30-to-34 age range, according to the health department.

What are symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • A rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest, genital and anal area.

What to do if you come in contact?

Mpox transmission requires prolonged, direct contact with an active rash or indirect contact with an active rash through contaminated items, such as clothing.

If you think you’ve come in contact you can still receive a Jynneos vaccine at no cost by setting up an appointment with the health department by calling 407-723-5004.

Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Joe Mario Pedersen