Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the Monkeypox virus (MPV). Monkeypox is not a new disease but was not common in the United States before this current outbreak.
Anyone can get monkeypox. At this time, many cases in the US and Chicago are seen in men who have sex with men.
How It Is Transmitted
The transmission of MPV is very different from SARS-CoV-2.
Monkeypox is spread from person to person through close contact, such as touching someone’s rash and sores, sharing bedding or towels, or respiratory droplets (kissing, coughing, and sneezing) during prolonged (several hours) face-to-face contact.
Public health officials currently believe that MPV can be transmitted from person to person from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed. This typically takes about 2-4 weeks.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms typically start to appear anywhere between 5 to 21 days after an exposure. If you have monkeypox you may experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sores and or lesions
The rash will typically resemble pimples or blisters and eventually scabs over and heals. It can appear on the face, inside the mouth, genital area, area around the anus or on other parts of the body. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks.
If you are concerned about monkeypox and have active lesions or rash, contact your primary care physician to be evaluated and see if you should get tested.
Many people with monkeypox will recover on their own without any additional treatment.
Certain individuals may qualify for an antiviral medication to treat MPV who have chances of having more severe infections.
The vaccine requires 2 doses with the second dose administered 28 days after the first. UI Health has the JYNNEOS™ vaccine available and is following the CDC and CDPH guidelines for administering it.
At this time MPV vaccination is not recommend for the general public. Eligibility for MPV vaccination may change over time. For the latest guidance, please visit CDPH's MPV vaccine resource site.
As of August 18, 2022, CDPH has updated vaccine eligibility to include those who have not previously had monkeypox and:
- Have had close contact (e.g. household members with close physical contact or intimate partners) with someone diagnosed with monkeypox regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men and/or transgender person who is sexually active.
If you have had monkeypox recently, you likely have protection and are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time.
Even after getting vaccinated, you should still take precautions, especially if you are at high risk for severe illness from monkeypox.
In accordance with updated recommendations and requirements from the CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health, all doses of the MPV vaccine after August 22, 2022 will be given in a superficial or shallow part of the skin (intradermal).