Starling’s Monkeypox 101 Fact Sheet
Monkeypox has been in the news quite a bit lately and the CDC recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency. To help you better understand what monkeypox is and how to protect yourself against it, Starling Physicians has put together a quick monkeypox 101 fact sheet to answer the most common questions.
- Monkeypox is a rare disease that has recently seen a rise in cases in more than 50 countries that do not normally report monkeypox. The United States is among those.
- It is caused by the monkeypox virus which is similar to the smallpox virus, and results in similar symptoms to smallpox but generally milder.
- As of now, Connecticut has reported 43 cases of monkeypox.
- Over 99% of people who get this type of monkeypox infection survive. It is rarely fatal. However, younger children, those with weakened immune systems, and women who are pregnant may be more likely to get more seriously ill.
- Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. The illness typically lasts two – four weeks.
- The virus is spread through direct contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids. It can also spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, or by touching items that previously were in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids of an infected person. It is spread while symptoms are being experienced, so the rash needs to be fully healed to be safe.
- To avoid contracting the virus, avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox, avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used, and wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
- There are vaccines available to prevent monkeypox infections and are recommended to anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, who had a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks that was diagnosed with monkeypox or has had sex partners in an area that is known to have had monkeypox cases.
- Individuals determined to have a high- or intermediate-risk exposure should receive a vaccine as soon as possible after exposure. CDC recommends the vaccine be given within 4 days of exposure in order to prevent the onset of disease. Given between 4-14 days after exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of disease, but may not prevent the disease.
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary people, who are age 18 or older, have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days, and are CT residents are eligible for vaccination. Starting Monday, August 1, eligible patients will be able to call clinics directly to schedule vaccination appointments. A list of clinics and their contact information will be available on the CT Monkeypox site.
- If you think you are eligible for a vaccine, contact your healthcare provider or visit www.cdc.gov for more information.