Health and Wellness | Student Health Services

Monkeypox

Monkeypox

The World Health organization and the Biden administration has declared monkeypox a public health emergency. As of October 5, 2022, there have been 206 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in MN. Visit Monkeypox (MPX) Case Data for more information.

 

What is Monkeypox?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.”

How can monkeypox spread?

The virus can spread from person-to-person contact or through infected animals.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.

Person-to-person transmission occurs through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

Animal transmission occurs by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

What are the symptoms associated with monkeypox?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Monkeypox symptoms may start 5 to 21 days after you are exposed. The time between when you are exposed and when you have symptoms is called the incubation period.

Monkeypox symptoms last 2 to 4 weeks and may include:

  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backaches
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

About 1 to 4 days after you begin having a fever, a skin rash starts. The monkeypox rash often first appears on the face, hands or feet and then spreads to other parts of the body. The monkeypox rash goes through many stages. Flat spots turn into blisters. Then the blisters fill with pus, scab over and fall off over a period of 2 to 4 weeks.

You can spread monkeypox while you have symptoms so from when your symptoms start until your rash and scabs heal.

See your health care provider right away if you have a new rash or any monkeypox symptoms, even if you don’t know anyone with monkeypox.”

How is monkeypox diagnosed?

Monkeypox can be diagnosed with a lab test ordered from a medical provider.  

Is monkeypox testing available at the Wellness Center?

Monkeypox testing is not available in the Wellness Center.  However, you may consult with the PA in Health Services for information about monkeypox testing.

How can I prevent being infected with monkeypox?

Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • 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.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid animals that may carry the virus.
  • Get vaccinated (if eligible) when the vaccine is available. 
    • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox
    • People who may have been exposed to monkeypox, such as:
      • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
      • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox
    • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as:
      • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
      • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
      • Some designated healthcare or public health workers

 

What should I do if I test positive for monkeypox?

If you test positive:

  • Follow the CDC’s Isolation and Prevention Practices for People with Monkeypox
  • Remain isolated if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, including sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. Only go out to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency.
  • If you need to leave isolation, you should cover the rash and wear a well-fitting mask.

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

 

Antivirals may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, speak with Health Services.

What resources are available?

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