Central Florida is reporting nearly four times the number of cases of Monkeypox, Meningococcal disease, and Hepatitis A through this year than it did in all of last year.
According to the Florida Department of Health Reportable Diseases Frequency Report, this year, nearly 80 cases of the three diseases have been reported in Central Florida. In comparison, only 21 cases of the diseases were reported through all of 2021.
Nearly two dozen new cases of Monkeypox, Hepatitis A, and Meningococcal disease have been reported in the past month alone, with Orange County reporting 14 of those 22 cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the current breakout of Meningococcal disease in Florida “is primarily among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV.” The CDC describes the Monkeypox outbreak similarly, suggesting that “many of those affected” are “gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.”
In addition to Central Florida’s eight counties, multiple regions of Florida have seen an increase in reported cases this year.
Across the state, nearly 400 cases of the three diseases have been reported through July 12, compared with 356 through all of 2021.
This year, Florida counties have reported 222 cases of Hepatitis A and 170 cases of Meningococcal disease and monkeypox.
Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. These illnesses may include meningitis, which are infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord, and bloodstream. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against meningococcal disease, according to the CDC.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is found in the stool and blood of those infected. The virus is easily spread when someone unknowingly ingests it, even in small amounts, through close contact with an infected person or through consuming contaminated food.