Monkeypox Information

 

Monkeypox Information

Monkeypox (MPX) has now spread to several countries that don’t typically report this disease, including our country and community. The World Health Organization has declared MPX a “public health emergency of international concern”. We encourage you to take steps to protect yourself and others.

On this page you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about MPX. We’ve also provided helpful resources and debunked some common myths associated with this infectious disease.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Monkeypox (MPX)

Learn about MPX signs, symptoms, prevention, how it spreads and how it’s treated. And find helpful local resources in this FAQ.

Monkeypox (MPX) FAQ

What exactly is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus. It is a disease that causes pox-like bumps on the skin (also referred to as a rash). Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease is likely rodents found in West and Central Africa. Before the current outbreak, cases were typically linked to international travel to Africa or humans coming in contact with an infected animal via bites, scratches or ingesting its meat. Cause for concern arose when several countries that do not normally report monkeypox (e.g., the U.S.) started to see an outbreak of the disease.  

How does monkeypox spread?

You can get monkeypox through direct contact with the rash, scabs, respiratory secretions or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. Direct contact can mean talking closely face-to-face for a prolonged time, kissing, snuggling, hugging, massaging and having sex. You can also contract it by touching objects and surfaces that someone with monkeypox used (like sheets and towels). Additionally, a pregnant person can spread the virus to the fetus.

Anyone can contract it through close contact with someone who has the virus. And the window for infection is quite large: Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has completely healed, which can take up to four weeks. Symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.

What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox ?

Signs and symptoms of monkeypox infection can appear 3-17 days after exposure.  Common initial symptoms include but are to limited to headache, sore throat, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes.

The rash associated with monkeypox can appear anytime after infection. It may start as a small painless pimple on the face, extremities, torso, anal area or genitals.  Occasionally, lesions can occur in the mouth and pharynx.   The lesions will then progress to more painful, fluid filled blisters, sometimes associated with surrounding redness. Over the course of 2-4 weeks, these blisters crust over and eventually disappear, but may leave a scar. The person is infectious while the blisters persist. 

What if I get monkeypox?

If you have been exposed to monkeypox or develop some or all of the above signs and symptoms, alert your primary care doctor or go to an urgent care center. Visits to the emergency room should be limited to those with severe symptoms, altered mental status, shortness of breath or severe chest pain or a rash that is progressing and very red.

If your immune system is suppressed from underlying conditions or medications and you are experiencing symptoms, you should notify your physician and/or seek care immediately.  

If your physician wants to see you in person, to avoid infecting others, wear a mask and cover the rash with clothing.

If you test positive, your provider will recommend next steps, such as any treatments, like creams, and how to avoid spreading the virus to others in your home. (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/specific-settings/home-disinfection.html).

Although your symptoms may be alarming, most people recover without the need for any drug treatments, such as investigational antivirals. (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/treatment.html) or vaccines (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/vaccines.html ).

How can I protect myself and others from monkeypox?

If there’s any similarity between monkeypox and COVID-19, it’s in the steps we can take to prevent getting the virus. Handwashing and avoiding close physical contact with an infected person are the most important prevention measures. Monkeypox can be occasionally transmitted from infected surfaces, especially linens and towels. Remember, like COVID, anyone can get monkeypox, so stay informed.

Although the U.S. has not reported any deaths from monkeypox, it’s still important to follow the latest guidelines to protect yourself. Go to https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html for more information.

Please note: we do not administer the Tpoxx vaccine in our ED or provide general testing to the community. Only to patients who are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital are eligible for treatment. Please talk to your physician if your illness requires hospital care.

For information about testing locations in Los Angeles and the availability of the Tpoxx vaccine, please go to : Monkeypox | LA County Department of Public Health

Monkeypox and Stigma

Kimberly Shriner, MD, FACP, medical director of infection prevention and control, shares the importance of eliminating society’s stigmatization and judgment of those suffering from contagious diseases like MPX. Click here to read what she has to say.