MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health confirmed Tuesday the state has recorded its first instance of monkeypox in a young child.
According to the department's online reporting tool, the case involves a child in Martin County between the ages of 0-4 years old. The county health department further confirmed the case to 10 Tampa Bay.
The overall condition of the child is not yet known.
State health officials held a briefing on the monkeypox outbreak in Florida, which ranks No. 3 in the country with a total of 1,085 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are a total of 11,890 confirmed cases nationwide.
The vast majority of monkeypox cases have appeared in men who have sex with men while other instances outside that group have been reported, the CDC said earlier.
Tuesday, Dr. Ulyee Choe with the Florida Health Department said the median age for monkeypox cases in the state is 38.
Ninety-nine percent of the cases are in males and 51 percent are in HIV-positive individuals. State health leaders are hopeful a new method for administering vaccines will make a difference in curbing the outbreak.
"We’re in the process of converting all of our shots to intradermal, which is the preferred method for those over 18. It’s really stretched that limited vaccine supply," Choe said.
As of now, vaccines in Florida are reserved for those at high risk like immunocompromised individuals or people who had direct contact with a confirmed case. If you want a vaccine, check with your local health department to see if you're eligible.
Choe wouldn't offer specifics on the Martin County child with monkeypox but said, in general, national data shows cases involving very young children are usually due to household contact.
"They don’t expect schools, especially K-12 are going to be big drivers of this," Choe said. That being said, districts in the state have protocols in place for children that present with rash."
Officials have said the virus can spread through close personal contact, and via towels and bedding, according to earlier reporting from The Associated Press. That means it can happen in homes, likely through prolonged or intensive contact, Dr. James Lawler, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told the AP.
County health departments across Florida are offering the Jynneos vaccines to people considered high-risk for the virus, including those who are HIV positive, and others who fit certain criteria. In the Tampa Bay area, like places elsewhere across the country, the availability of the vaccine varies as demand outweighs supply.
Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and more. Most people with monkeypox get a rash, and it may be painful.