Monkeypox: Public Health Update
The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency on July 23, 2022. The CDC is closely monitoring the situation.
What To Know About Monkeypox:
Monkeypox is a rare disease known for causing a rash and flu-like symptoms. While associated with smallpox, monkeypox has been found to cause less severe symptoms and is rarely fatal according to the CDC.
How Does it Spread?
- Monkeypox can infect anyone.
- College communities may be at increased risk due to “tight-knit social and sexual networks” as reported by Sylvia Goodman in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- It is spread from close personal contact. According to the CDC, this can be through:
- Direct contact with rash, scabs, body fluids of a person with the monkeypox virus
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact
- During intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, sexual activity (oral, anal, vaginal sex, or touching the genitals) with a person who has the monkeypox virus
- Touching items (such as clothing or bedding) that previously touched the infectious person’s rash or body fluids
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their baby through the placenta
- It can also be transmitted from infected animals in rare cases
- The virus can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash is fully healed and a thin layer of skin has formed over the lesions
- It is currently unknown if people without symptoms but are infected can transmit the virus.
- Initially starts with flu like symptoms (fever, malaise, headache, body aches, swollen glands, fatigue)
- After several days, a rash develops and may progress over a week or two
- Rash typically begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body
- It can look like pimples or blisters and can occur anywhere on the body, including inside the mouth, in the groin, or on the genitals.
- Presentations can vary:
- Some people get the rash first, then experience the other symptoms. Others just get the rash and no other symptoms
- Symptoms can develop up to 21 days after exposure to the virus.
CDC Prevention Steps:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox. Click the link for further sexual precautions at this time.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What To Do If You Were Exposed:
- If you had a known exposure in the past 14 days: Contact your local health department or healthcare provider. You are eligible for a two-dose regimen for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) . Local health departments will continue to conduct contact tracing and offer the vaccine to anyone identified as a close contact.
- If you had a suspected exposure: You may contact one of these vaccine sites directly:
- Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud! Jersey City: 201-706-3480
- The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Asbury Park: 732-502-5100
- North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark: 973-483-3444 ext.200
Where are vaccines available:
- Bergen New Bridge Medical Center 230 East Ridgewood Ave, Paramus NJ, 07652: 800-730-2762
- Passaic County Health Department 930 Riverview Suite 250, Totowa NJ, 07512: 973-811-4396
- Find a NJ location near you
You may also be eligible for the vaccine if you meet certain criteria:
If You Are Sick With Monkeypox-like Symptoms:
- Isolate at home
- If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible. Cover any lesions with long pants, shirt sheet. Wear a mask.
- Call your local department of health or primary care provider for guidance and testing
Last updated: July 28, 2022