Florida Republican Politicians Are Infecting One Another With Whooping Cough

Florida Republican Politicians Are Infecting One Another With Whooping Cough
Photo by Gage Skidmore | CC2.0

Whooping cough may be one of the nastiest illnesses. Symptoms can last for weeks or even months, and coughing fits can be so severe that patients have been known to vomit or break ribs. Vaccines have helped to mitigate outbreaks, but instances still occur in the United States. 

In fact, there seems to be something of a mini-epidemic plaguing Florida's GOP. 

Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo announced his diagnosis with the bacterial disease earlier this week. Now he has infected Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz. 

Curbelo has been struggling with the symptoms of whooping cough since July, but it wasn't until this past Monday that he was officially diagnosed.

“Although the last few weeks have been very trying for me and for my family, thankfully I am now recovering,” Curbelo said in a statement.

Curbelo is on antibiotics, as is his family as a precaution. But anyone who came into contact with him in early to mid-July, when the disease was the most infectious, is advised to be on the lookout for symptoms. Curbelo was in D.C. on official business during much of that time, and he has infected at least one other politician. 

Gaetz's father, state Sen. Don Gaetz, confirmed his son's illness to the Times/Herald today

"The bad news is Matt has whooping cough," Don Gaetz joked. "The good news is Matt is quarantined."

"I guess they spend too much time together," Senator Gaetz added about how his son contracted the disease from Curbelo. 

Indeed, Representative Gaetz was in D.C. meeting with Curbelo in July. 

A mini-anti-vaccination trend swirled among some members of the GOP earlier this year, yet Curbelo, a moderate on many issues, especially social ones, cautioned parents to have their children vaccinated. 

"I want to use this opportunity to remind parents to vaccinate their children against this dangerous infection," Curbelo said. "Adults should be aware that booster shots are necessary in order to maintain the vaccine's effectiveness. I want to thank my family and my team for helping me get through this."

Both Curbelo and Gaetz could be in for a long recovery. The disease has also been dubbed the 100-day cough for the amount of time it sticks around. 

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