Florida reports first pediatric monkeypox case in Martin County

With most kids back in school, the Florida Department of Health has reported its first pediatric monkeypox case, which was in Martin County.   

Dr. Ulyee Choe with the Florida Department of Health said Tuesday, Florida has 1,317 cases out of about 12,000 nationwide. 

Dr. Choe said there is some promising data about the spread in Europe and what it could mean for the United States.  

"Some good news out of Europe, the increase has slowed down. Hopefully we are just a few weeks behind them," Dr. Choe said. 

MORE: WHO to rename monkeypox over stigmatization concerns

Monkeypox isn’t deadly, but very painful and is spread by having prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. The outbreak is mainly impacting men who have sex with men, though some health officials believe monkeypox could potentially be spreading into new groups. 

Dr. Bob Wallace was one of the first doctors to treat HIV, and can speak from experience on why it’s important not to stigmatize. 

"We have to be careful not to label this," Wallace told FOX 13.  

He says labels could lead to other groups letting their guard down.

READ: Owners spread monkeypox to their dog, doctors report

"College students. This group is very social they tend to have large parties, pool parties for example, doesn’t matter whether you're gay or straight – if there’s someone in the pool, and you’re having skin to skin contact – that’s a risk for monkeypox," Wallace said.  

With children back in school, the Florida Department of Health said school districts are prepared for an outbreak. 

"Experts don’t believe ages K-12 are going to be a big driver of this, but the majority of school districts around the state have protocols in place if a student presents a rash," Dr. Choe said.  

As for the vaccine, the FDA has approved a new injection method using one fifth of a dose to address a nationwide shortage of doses. Right now, Florida has administered 65,000 doses.