September 6th, 2022
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms (rashes or sores, headaches, fatigue, chills, and swollen lymph nodes) but are milder and rarely fatal. There are two clades of the monkeypox virus: West African and Congo Basin. Infections in the current monkeypox outbreak are from the West African variant. Previously, monkeypox was almost exclusively found in people who traveled to Central or West Africa. However, since May 2022, there has been an uptick in cases among people who have not visited Africa. To date, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Map & Case Count has recorded 4,639 cases in the United States.
The monkeypox virus spreads person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scab, or bodily fluids. Although monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, monkeypox can spread during intimate physical contact between people. Notably, many – though not all – of the reported cases have been among gay and bisexual men. The virus has also been known to spread from a pregnant person to their fetus through the placenta. The virus may also spread by touching items that an infected person has been in contact with, in addition to having contact with an individual with a rash or where there has been bodily fluid transmission. The virus is contagious from the moment symptoms appear until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Monkeypox can last two to four (2-4) weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Talk to those whom you have had close physical contact, about their general health like recent rashes or sores
Don’t share bedding and/or clothing with others
Consider covering exposed skin in dense indoor crowds
Avoid traveling to countries where there are current outbreaks
Testing and Vaccines
If you, or someone you know, experience symptoms of the monkeypox virus, the CDC recommends contacting your health provider immediately for evaluation/testing.
The CDC recommends vaccinations for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at high risk; this includes people with weakened immune systems, children under eight (8) years old, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The West African- type monkeypox is rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who contract the West African monkey pox will survive; the symptoms can be painful, and people may have permanent scarring resulting from the rash.
While there are no specific treatments for the monkeypox virus, the genetic similarities between monkeypox and smallpox have allowed smallpox antiviral drugs such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) to be used to treat monkeypox infections.
Nationwide Vaccine Allocation
On July 15, 2022, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) ordered an additional 2.5 million doses of the Bavarian Nordic’s JYNNEOS (an FDA-licensed vaccine for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox). This will bring the federal government's supply to more than 6.9 million doses by mid-2023. As of July 22, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) have delivered 310,385 doses of JYNNEOS.
The CDC is tracking the number of monkeypox cases globally and in the United States. To view the number of current cases by state, please visit their website.
Information on the JYNNEOS vaccine allocation, requests, and shipments can be found on the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) website. The data on JYNNEOS deliverers are published every Wednesday.