Florida could be the epicenter of the mpox resurgence in the U.S.

Based on recent data, gay and bisexual men residing in certain counties in Florida may be at an increased risk of a resurgence in mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) due to low vaccination rates. It appears that only a minority of gay men in the state have received both doses of the mpox vaccine, potentially leaving them vulnerable to the infection, Queerty reported.

Last summer's mpox outbreak resulted in 30,000 diagnosed cases in the U.S., with a majority of infections occurring among gay and bi men. Tragically, around 40 deaths have been reported, with over half of them affecting individuals with advanced HIV and compromised immune systems.

Health experts have expressed concerns about a possible resurgence of the disease in recent weeks. Chicago, for instance, has seen a higher number of cases compared to the first three months of the year. The warmer weather and increased socializing during Pride season could contribute to further increases in other areas.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted 15 counties across the U.S. with low vaccination rates, with Duval County in Florida topping the list. Three other Florida counties also made it into the top 15.

The three other counties in Texas that made it to the top 15 list of areas at risk of a resurgence are Shelby, Bexar and Dallas. Other states represented on the list include Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, California, Georgia and Indiana.

Duval County stands out as only 6% of men who have sex with men in the county reported receiving either one or both doses of the vaccine. This places the county at around 57% likelihood of experiencing another outbreak, according to the CDC, which is the highest risk in the U.S.

Additionally, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties in Florida have a 52% risk of outbreaks, while Pinellas County has a 48% risk. In Hillsborough and Palm Beach, only approximately 15% of the local gay male population has been vaccinated.

Concerns have been raised about the DeSantis administration's attitude toward vaccination and gay health issues, which may have contributed to the low vaccination rates in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis downplayed the significance of the mpox outbreak last August and expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the recommended vaccines.

However, a recent real-world study conducted by the CDC demonstrated that one shot of the vaccine provides 75% protection against the mpox virus, while two shots provide 86% protection.

The CDC is actively encouraging all gay and bisexual men to receive both doses of the mpox vaccine to protect themselves against the infection.