What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus which was first identified in 1958. It belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus which includes the variola (smallpox) virus. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox, but it is less transmissible, and the symptoms are usually less severe than smallpox. Monkeypox is much less contagious than Covid-19 and spreads much slower.
Recently, since May 2022, there has been an uptick in the number of cases in Europe, Canada, and the United States – including California. The current risk of getting monkeypox by the general public is very low.
How does it spread?
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:
Direct contact with the monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with monkeypox
Touching clothing, bedding, towels, objects and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox
Contact with respiratory secretions
Close contact includes:
Oral, anal, vaginal sex and touching genitals and/or anus of someone with monkeypox
Kissing, massaging, hugging
Prolonged face-to-face contact
Touching fabrics and objects used by a person with monkeypox
What are the symptoms?
Most people with monkeypox get a rash which may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness (fever, muscle aches, headache, chills, swollen lymph nodes, low energy).
Symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.
The rash may be near the genitals or anus but can also be on other areas like the chest, hands, or face.
It can be spread to someone else from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed. This can take several weeks.
What do I do if I have been exposed or have symptoms?
Contact SHS (CALL us at 209-228-2273) or call your Primary Care Provider to talk about your symptoms, testing, and next steps.
Take a break from social gatherings and intimate contact with others
Wear a mask and cover rash and sores until checked out by a health care provider.
Think about your recent close contacts…
How can I protect myself from monkeypox?
1. Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Do not hug, kiss, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
Do not touch the rash or scabs of someone with monkeypox.
2. Don’t have contact with materials, objects, or surfaces that a person with monkeypox has used.
Don’t share or touch bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
Don’t share utensils or cups with someone who has monkeypox.
3. Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially before touching your face or eating, and after you use the bathroom.
4. Avoid activities where it’s likely to have prolonged skin-to-skin contact with multiple partners or anonymous sexual contacts.
What about the vaccine?
There are 2 vaccines licensed by the FDA which are available to prevent monkeypox infections.
Currently, there is a very LIMITED supply of the vaccine and can only be distributed by the Department of Public Health and the Merced County Department of Public Health.
The vaccine is currently being allocated to the following individuals:
- Known contacts who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing
- Presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:
Know that a sexual partner within the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkey pox
Please call us if you think you meet these criteria!!