Health officials are making a monkeypox vaccine available to people at risk

Three monkeypox cases reported in Central Florida

Health officials are taking more steps to slow the spread of monkeypox. They’re now making a vaccine available to more people who could be at risk. There are 27 reported cases in Florida and seven in Georgia.

Right now, there are no reported cases in North Florida, the largest area of monkeypox cases is in South Florida in Broward County. A few positive cases are in Central Florida. The focus has been on gay men, but anyone can get it.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is expanding the recommendation of who should get the vaccine to protect against monkeypox and the government is ramping up supplies and sending them to areas where the outbreak is spreading.

Health officials are taking another step to slow the spread of monkeypox.

Chad Neilsen specializes in infectious diseases at UF Health. “I don’t think this has the potential to turn into an epidemic or even a pandemic, like we’ve seen with COVID. Monkey pox does not spread as easily as COVID-19.”

Symptoms include fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, but for some it could be worse. “Within probably one to ten days, you’ll start to see a rash from the time you’re infected, then the rash will get progressively worse,” Neilsen said. “The little chicken pox looking bumps will turn into something greater very quickly.

But Neilsen says in most cases, it will go away eventually on its own. So far in the U.S. there have been no reported deaths.

There are now two vaccines. The original small pox vaccine, which works with monkeypox, and a newer vaccine which the government is now working to ramp up distribution.

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