Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus and spread through contact with the virus from an infected animal, infected person or virus-contaminated objects and materials. Direct contact with sores, scabs or body fluids of an infected person is the primary method of spread; but, it also may spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face or intimate contact with an infected person.
Monkeypox typically begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion followed by a rash. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks and infected persons are considered contagious while symptoms are present. Those concerned about monkeypox should contact their health care providers.
How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling or sex. In addition, pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetuses through the placenta.
Touching items such as clothing or household linens that have been in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids is one way monkeypox spreads. It's also possible to get monkeypox from infected animals by being scratched or bitten by the animal or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
How can monkeypox be prevented?
Take the following steps to avoid getting monkeypox:
Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Have conversations with partners before close contact.
Do not touch the rash or scabs of person with monkeypox.
Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have intimate contact with someone with monkeypox.
Do not share food, beverages, dishes, cups/glasses or eating utensils with someone who has monkeypox.
Do not handle or touch bedding, towels or clothing used or worn by someone with monkeypox.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Monkeypox Vaccines in Kentucky
Distribution of the monkeypox vaccine remains low to Kentucky due to the low number of cases of monkeypox in the state. The Kentucky Department for Public Health shares and appreciates the need and concern for expanded access. The Madison County Health Department will have a limited supply of vaccine and will make appointments for those who meet the screening criteria.
Who can get vaccinated?
Anyone who reports any of the following:
Close contact to someone with known or suspected monkeypox virus (direct skin-toskin contact or other close contact)
Diagnosis of HIV
Diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea or early syphilis, within the prior 12 months.
Receiving medications to prevent HIV infection (PrEP)
Exchanging sex for money or nonmonetary items
Attending an event/venue where there was a high risk of exposure to an individual(s) with monkeypox virus through skin-to-skin or sexual contact
Gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men or transgender people who are sexually active
Laboratory workers who routinely perform monkeypox or orthopox virus testing
Healthcare professionals who have had high-risk occupational exposure without using recommended personal protective equipment in the past 14 days
Individuals who, on a case-by-case basis, are determined at high risk for contracting monkeypox
If you think you may be eligible to receive a monkeypox vaccine, please call us to schedule an appointment: (859) 623-7312
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