WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, carried mainly by animals in Central Africa. This virus is related to the smallpox virus, which was declared eradicated worldwide in the 1980s, but not related to chickenpox. Until recently, infections in humans have been rare outside Africa. In 2003, a self-limited outbreak in the US stemmed from imported animals and made more than 70 people ill.

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Early this year, outbreaks of this infection were reported in several countries, and since then, monkeypox has quickly become widespread in humans, primarily via close intimate contact. By mid-August, approximately 40,000 cases were reported worldwide, a third in the US.

The infection is usually self-limited, rarely fatal, with no death in the US so far. Outside Africa, these outbreaks mainly occur in men who have sex with men.

During these recent outbreaks, people with monkeypox have developed mainly a vesicular rash, commonly located on or near the genital areas and buttocks, including vaginal and anal lesions and other areas of the body initially in contact with the infection.

The rash may be painful or itchy and usually goes through different stages before healing completely. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough

Most infected persons usually develop a flu-like illness followed by a rash about three weeks after exposure to the virus. But those symptoms can widely vary from person to person and present in any order. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close contact, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with an infected person’s rash, scabs, or body fluids, including prolonged exposure to respiratory secretions.
  • Face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as hugging, kissing, cuddling, massaging oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or touching the genitals of an infected person.
  • Touching infected surfaces (fomites) can potentially transmit the virus.

It is also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, by preparing or eating meat, or by using products from an infected animal.

Monkeypox can spread from when symptoms start until the rash has fully healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Asymptomatic infected people may appear unable to spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Anyone who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

Take the following steps to prevent infection:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone at risk or with suspicious symptoms, such as a rash or unexplained skin lesions.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person infected.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a sick person known to be infected with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with sick people.

A person who is sick with monkeypox should be isolated at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets when possible.

There are no treatments approved for monkeypox. However, due to the similarities between monkeypox and smallpox viruses, treatments and vaccines for smallpox are being used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections, despite the lack of confirmatory data.

Antivirals originally manufactured for smallpox, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), are being recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems, until more information is known about its effectiveness against monkeypox.

Regardless, most people with the infection recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without needing medical treatment.

OIC is currently offering evaluation and possible testing to people concerned about having the infection or with suspicious symptoms. Please contact us via phone at 407-647-3960 if you suspect the infection and want to be properly evaluated by one of our experienced providers. OIC also offers telehealth evaluation by our experienced providers for people concerned about this infection. However, to undergo testing, an on-site visit is required for the proper collection of specimens.

The CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox at this time. Still, it recommends vaccination for people who have been in close personal contact with a confirmed case or are more likely to get monkeypox, such as those with multiple sex partners in the last 2 weeks. Lab staff personnel also have an increased risk of being exposed to the virus.

If you are interested in receiving this vaccine at our center, contact us at 407-647-3960 or fill out the form below to be placed on our waiting list.

JOIN OUR MONKEYPOX VACCINE WAITLIST

OIC receives vaccines by the Florida Department of Health for administration as part of a healthcare visit to established or new patients.  Although the weekly supply is limited, OIC continues to receive vaccines and will administer them on a first come first served basis.

This waitlist does not guarantee a monkeypox vaccine, but it is the best way to receive one from OIC. Everyone listed will be kept informed with the latest updates.

We advise you to contact other health facilities, such as the Orange County Department of Public Health, to join additional waitlists to increase the chances of receiving a vaccine soon.

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(rashes, bumps or blisters, body aches, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes?)

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Professional and kind but very heavy on the safety end. They got me in and out with efficient and effective skill. I cannot say enough about this staff and how well they work together.

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