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Monkeypox Information and Updates

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.

Symptoms:

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Call your local department of health or primary care provider for guidance and testing

Resources: 

Last updated: July 28, 2022