Monkeypox

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral illness caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.

It primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact, especially direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. It can also spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or by touching objects, fabrics, or surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. At this time, most infections during the 2022 outbreak are in men and appear to have been acquired through close personal contact. Learn more about how monkeypox spreads here

Monkeypox disease begins 1-2 weeks after an exposure and can start with a rash or with symptoms like fever, lethargy, muscle aches, headache, swollen lymph nodes, or malaise that are followed by a rash. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that evolve over time. The rash can be mild or become severe and very painful particularly if in the mouth, genital or anal areas.

Monkeypox generally lasts 2-4 weeks and generally resolves without specific treatment. There are antiviral drugs that are active against monkeypox that may be used in severe disease or in persons at high risk for severe disease.The main antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) is only available from the CDC through a healthcare provider. At this time, during the 2022 outbreak there have been no deaths from monkeypox in the United States.

What can I do about monkeypox?

Monkeypox CAN be prevented.

    1. Avoid close personal contact with persons who are ill or have a rash.
    2. If you are ill or have a rash seek medical care and do not have close personal contact with others until fully evaluated. If you have monkeypox, follow isolation guidelines.
    3. If you are exposed, a vaccine (JYNNEOS) may prevent or decrease the severity of disease if given promptly after exposure.
    4. If you are at high risk for exposure or severe disease, you may benefit from vaccination with JYNNEOS before any exposure occurs.

Who is at highest risk for monkeypox?

While anyone can become infected with monkeypox disease, some groups are at increased risk for more severe disease.

These groups include:

    • People with immunocompromise (including HIV-infection)
    • Children younger than 8 years of age
    • People with a history or presence of atopic dermatitis, and persons with other active exfoliative skin conditions such as eczema
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
    • People with one or more complications (e.g., secondary bacterial skin infection; gastroenteritis with severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration; bronchopneumonia; concurrent disease or other comorbidities)

What about persons living with HIV?

It is currently unknown whether having HIV affects a person’s risk of acquiring monkeypox disease after exposure. Currently, it seems that people with advanced or uncontrolled HIV may be at a higher risk of severe or prolonged disease. The signs and symptoms may also differ in persons with HIV. Persons with well-controlled HIV and good immune function appear to do similarly to those without HIV.

Persons with HIV and monkeypox need close medical followup to assure best care and treatment. Persons with HIV should prioritize getting the JYNNEOS vaccination as it becomes available for pre-exposure prophylaxis.The currently preferred antiviral for monkeypox, tecovirimat (TPOXX), appears safe with most antiretroviral regimens.

Where can I learn more?

For general information on monkeypox:

 

For Arizona information:

    • Maricopa County – information, confirmed & probable cases, and vaccine eligibility forms.
      • Live in Maricopa County and at risk for monkeypox? Fill out this form if you’d like to be considered to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine to prevent monkeypox.
    • Pima County – information, and vaccine interest form.
    • All other counties: contact your local health department for additional information

More Detailed Information:

For health care professionals:

 

The 2022 monkeypox outbreak is still very new, and information and guidance will surely change over time. It is important to stay current with trusted sources and to take care of yourself and the persons around you.

Resources

AZ 2022-2026 HIV/STI/HEP C Integrated Plan