SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The state health department is finally offering guidance for the monkeypox virus, which is spread through skin-to-skin contact causing rashes or sores.
It is recommended that people with a confirmed monkeypox case should isolate at home, and not go to work or leave the house until the scab on the sores has fully healed and all symptoms have been resolved for at least 48 hours.
People with roommates should isolate in a separate room and avoid close skin-to-skin contact with other people and animals in the home.
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Wash all the clothing and bedding that used by the person with the virus, especially items that touched any sores, and disinfect surfaces. If someone with the virus shares a bathroom with someone else, all surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected after use by the person with monkeypox.
People with monkeypox who live in close contact with others should cover up unhealed sores with bandages. They can also wear a mask.
Yesterday the monkeypox vaccination clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital gave out 349 doses. Demand for the vaccine seems to be slowing down, as all walk-ins were served. The clinic will be open again Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox include onset of flu-like symptoms and distinctive rashes or sores that could look like pimples or blisters. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show the most commonly-reported symptoms are rash (99%), malaise (70%) and fever (64%).
The CDC stated August 6 that the most common places where rashes have been reported in this outbreak are genitals (46% of cases), arms (40%), face (38%) and legs (37%).
While the red, flat spots which become bumps can be anywhere on the body, they are most likely in the current outbreak to affect the genital or rectal areas, or the fingers, mouth or eyes. The spots become bumps, which break and crust over into a scab. They may be itchy, but not necessarily.
Further, some people only get one or some of these symptoms; it is possible to have a fever but never a rash, or have these symptoms sequentially and not concurrently.
What is the monkeypox vaccine?
The monkeypox virus is in the orthopoxvirus family alongside smallpox, for which routine vaccination in the U.S. ended in 1972 after the disease was declared eradicated here. Jynneos, a vaccine approved for both smallpox and monkeypox, is at least 85% effective against monkeypox, though its effectiveness reduces over time.
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Getting the vaccine within 14 days of exposure can prevent or mitigate disease risk, as the incubation period can be weeks.
Healthcare providers should test for other infections with similar symptoms, such as syphilis. Tests for monkeypox are confirmed at specialized labs.
Side-effects of the vaccine could include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and nausea.
Who can get a monkeypox infection?
According to CDC statistics released August 6, 99% of cases were in men, and 94% of cases were in men who reported having sex with men. Among those cases, the majority had reported multiple sexual partners in the prior three weeks. A total of ten U.S. cases have been reported in women, according to the CDC, and as of August 3 two pediatric cases have been confirmed. The virus is spread through close skin-on-skin contact and an adviser on sexually transmitted infections with the World Health Organization stated experts have not determined whether it is a sexually transmitted infection per se, though it is “clearly transmitted during sex.”
However, Noel Sanchez of the San Francisco Department of Public Health cautioned that anyone could become infected with the monkeypox virus, and that it doesn’t necessarily require sexual contact to contract it.
“SFDPH takes monkeypox seriously,” Sanchez stated. “While most cases resolve on their own without pills or treatment, monkeypox can be serious. We are trying to contain outbreaks and reduce transmission to avoid the virus spreading to more people and potentially becoming endemic. To that end, we are doing education and outreach to communities most at risk; tracking monkeypox cases; distributing and administering vaccines as a preventative measure to people at high risk because of an exposure; and supporting testing and clinical guidance to providers, among other efforts.”
Sanchez advises people to cover exposed skin in crowds, avoid sharing bedding and clothing, talk with close physical and sexual contacts about health, rashes and sores, and be aware of symptoms.