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Infectious Disease

Monkeypox

On July 23rd, 2022 the World Health Organization convened to assess the health implication of the multi-country outbreak of Monkeypox (MPV) and declared the outbreak a global emergency.  Transmission is occurring in several countries that are not endemic to Monkeypox and public health officials are working diligently to contain the current outbreak and learn more about the virus.

The majority of reported MPV cases are currently in males, occurring most among males who identified themselves as gay, bisexual, and other men how have sex with men.  However, any person, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation can acquire and spread monkeypox.  Transmission is also occurring in urban areas and in other social and sexual networks.  Recent reports have noted that children with no known epidemiological link to confirmed cases have also been affected.

MPV is a rare, but potentially serious, viral illness. Early symptoms in the first few days of transmission  included flu-like symptoms, such as fever, shills, malaise, and headaches.  These symptoms may progress to the swelling of the lymph nodes and rashes on the face and various parts of the body.  Although the fatality rate in the United States is <1%, MPV is still a viral illness that should not be treated lightly.  MPV can spread through:

  • Direct skin-skin contact with rash lesions; Sexual/intimate contact
  • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone; Sharing towels or unwashed clothes and linens
  • Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interaction where large respiratory droplets are transferred (namely, among those caring for family member who has MPV)

MPV does not spread through casual conversations or walking past a person with MPV.  Most infections last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks and can be very burdensome to an infected person.  Public health officials note that awareness and active outreach to the general public is an essential part to containing and limiting the spread of this virus.

Vaccine Memo from MA Public Health, July 28, 2022

"Due to extremely limited national availability of vaccine, the JYNNEOS vaccine in Massachusetts still remains limited at this time.  Vaccination is available to individuals who meet the CDC's eligibility criteria and who live or work in Massachusetts.  Vaccine is prioritized for for individuals at greatest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox.  If an individual believes they qualify for monkeypox vaccine, they should contact their healthcare provider or one of the state's provider locations.  JYNNEOS vaccine allocation data by jurisdiction is now updated on a weekly basis each Wednesday on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website:  JYNNEOS Monkeypox Vaccine Distribution by Jurisdiction (hhs.gov). "

See more information on monkeypox vaccination in Massachusetts, including eligibility.

 

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