Recent Global Monkeypox Outbreak
Since May 2022, monkeypox cases, which have historically been rare in the United States, have been identified in multiple states among both persons returning from international travel and their close contacts domestically.
CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and the Prince George’s County Health Department are working closely together to monitor case counts and working to understand the cause of the current cases.
At this time, the overall risk to the U.S. public is currently low.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox can make individuals sick including a rash or sores (pox), often accompanied by earlier flu-like symptoms. Most infected people, unless they have complications, experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close or skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores or scabs
- Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox
- Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox
This contact can happen during sexual contact including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox
- Hugging, massage, or kissing and talking closely
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within two weeks of exposure to the virus.
- The first symptoms might feel like the flu, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
- Within 1-3 days of these symptoms beginning, people develop a rash or sores on numerous possible areas of the body. The sores can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.
- The sores usually develop through several stages before crusting and falling off over the course of 2-4 weeks, thus ending the infectious period.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new isolation guidance for individuals with monkeypox as well as guidance for positive patients to prevent further spread. If you have monkeypox, isolate until your rash has fully healed. If you need to go out, cover your rash, wear a well-fitting mask, and avoid public transportation.
Read CDC’s updated isolation guidance for individuals who have been diagnosed with monkeypox.
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should:
- talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox, and ask about getting tested
- avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider.
- avoid events that involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact
- when you see a healthcare provider, remind them about the recent uptick in global monkeypox cases AND before you go to the provider, let them know you are concerned about possible monkeypox infection so they can take precautions to ensure that healthcare workers and others in the facility are not exposed.
People who may be at higher risk for monkeypox infection are those who:
- had close, sustained skin-to-skin contact including sexual contact*, or shared bed linens, with a person with monkeypox(*Any person, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation, can acquire and spread monkeypox. In this outbreak, however, many of the reported cases in the United States are among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (MSM).
- traveled to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
The County Health Department receives its monkeypox vaccine supply from the Maryland Department of Health. Vaccine is only available to certain high-risk individuals.
WE WILL NOT vaccinate you if you have monkeypox or are experiencing monkeypox symptoms. If you have symptoms, contact your medical provider for evaluation, testing, and treatment options.
Vaccination is not treatment.
If you have monkeypox and your symptoms resolve, you should speak to your healthcare provider to determine your eligibility for future vaccination.
Visit cdc.gov/monkeypox for more information.
The County Health Department is following CDC and MDH recommendations, based on current supply, that vaccine is administered to:
- Patients who have been identified as close contacts to laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases through contact tracing investigations.
- Anyone aware that one or more of their sexual partners from the past 14 days has been diagnosed with monkeypox or exposed to monkeypox.
- Anyone who has had multiple or unknown sexual partners in the past 14 days, including those considered higher risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals.
- Healthcare workers who may have been exposed to a known case and Laboratory Response Network (LRN) or other laboratory staff working directly with monkeypox testing.
How do I get vaccinated?
If you meet the above eligibility criteria, please pre-register for a monkeypox vaccination appointment.
Please know that monkeypox vaccine appointments are limited. As appointments become available, individuals who have pre-registered will receive a email and/or text notifications to schedule their appointment. When filling out the pre-registration form, please be sure your email address and mobile phone number are accurate so you will receive appointment notifications.
All information collected through the pre-registration system is confidential and secure and used only by the Prince George’s County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health to determine vaccine eligibility and to schedule vaccine appointments.