Monkeypox Information and Resources
For the most up-to-date medical information, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC), which provides information about signs, symptoms and treatment of the virus.
Monkeypox is on the rise nationally, with confirmed cases in Alachua County. With the increased level of activity in Gainesville that the new semester brings, we want to make sure the campus community is aware of transmission risks and how to mitigate these risks.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. While monkeypox can be very painful, it is rarely fatal. The World Health Organization, or WHO, and The United States Department of Health and Human Services have declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The Florida Department of Health tracks cases of monkeypox by county through Florida CHARTS.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox symptoms include a rash or sores, sometimes located on hands, feet, chest, face, around the genitals or inside the body, including the mouth, vagina or anus. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include, fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Sometimes these symptoms occur before the onset of the characteristic rash or sores.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox is most commonly transmitted through close, prolonged, often skin-to-skin contact with infected people or animals. It can also be spread through sustained contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels). Monkeypox also can be spread by respiratory droplets and smaller particles during prolonged face-to-face contact.
A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Scientists are still researching if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
How long do the incubation and infectious periods last?
The incubation period after infection lasts on average 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days. The infectious period begins with the first appearance of a rash, and continues until all lesions are scabbed, separated from the skin and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath. This may take as long as 2-4 weeks.
Who can get monkeypox?
While anyone can become infected with monkeypox regardless of age, gender identity or sexual orientation, as per the CDC, 99% of cases in the U.S. have been in men.
What precautions should one follow to prevent monkeypox?
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not share bedding, towels, clothing, utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
- Although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can be spread through sexual contact. The CDC offers additional tips on preventing monkeypox through safer sex and safer social gatherings.
- View additional tips for young adults.
What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?
If you think you have monkeypox, cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves or bandages, and wear a mask until you can see a health care provider. Remember to:
- Avoid touching anyone until you have been to the doctor.
- If your test result is positive, follow your health care provider’s recommendations for isolation and care.
- Wash your hands often and try not to touch your eyes.
- If you wear contact lenses, wear glasses instead, if possible, to avoid infecting your eyes.
Is there a vaccine or treatment for monkeypox?
Yes. The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox. Currently, the county Departments of Health (DOH) are the best source for obtaining the vaccine. For people with severe disease or who are at high risk for complications from monkeypox, the oral antiviral agent tecovirimat is similarly available at the DOH if criteria are met.