2022 Situation Summary
- Status update in the news as of Sept 13 2022. Though monkeypox is not a new disease, a current worldwide outbreak has resulted in thousands of cases in the U.S that are being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The APHC is tracking dozens of confirmed and probable cases amongst military service members. Monkeypox disease cases have thus far been identified mostly, though not only, in adult males who reported intimate physical contact with other males, and symptoms are often similar to those of certain sexually transmitted infections. Because anyone can be at risk - avoid close intimate contact with infected persons to prevent the spread of the disease.
- CDC is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States.
- The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox.
- You can take steps to prevent getting monkeypox and lower your risk during sex.
- CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox.
- If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
- CDC is urging healthcare providers in the United States to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. It was first identified as a pox-like disease in monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkeypox."
Known primarily for its characteristic rash with lesions that scab over, the monkeypox rash can occur on the palms and soles, or be generalized affecting other areas including perianal or genital areas. The incubation period (the time from infection with monkeypox to the time symptoms appear) is on average 7 to 14 days. Monkeypox is treatable; however, the disease is occasionally fatal.
Note that the rash associated with monkeypox can be confused with other rashes associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as still-common herpes and syphilis. However, it is also possible to be infected with both monkeypox and an STI.
Who is at risk for monkeypox?
People at higher risk for monkeypox infection include those who have recently travelled to a country where monkeypox has been identified, having contact with other people who have a similar rash or have received a diagnosis of suspected or confirmed monkeypox, and men who report having had intimate contact with other men.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, and often 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 (but less transmissible through the airborne-only route than viruses such as the COVID or influenza)
- During intimate sexual contact such as oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox
- Hugging, massaging, or kissing and talking closely
Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed; this can take several weeks.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash or sores, sometimes located on or near the genitals or anus, also could appear in other areas such as the hands, feet, chest, or face
Do military healthcare workers know about monkeypox?
Military healthcare providers are being advised to follow the CDCs advisory for all clinicians to be on the lookout for possible monkeypox cases as infected or potentially infected persons need to be isolated to prevent further infections.
Information for Clinicians
Clinicians can find more information in
Technical Information Paper 13-036-0622, Monkeypox, Frequently Asked Questions for Clinicians.
*NEW* Flyer: Monkeypox, What Servicemembers Should Know - APHC
Monkeypox, Signs and Symptoms - CDC
Monkeypox Virus Infection in the United States and Other Non-endemic Countries—2022 - CDC
Monkeypox, Past U.S. Cases and Outbreaks - CDC
Monkeypox, Transmission - CDC
Monkeypox Facts for People Who are Sexually Active - CDC
Fact Sheet: 13-025-0622, Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions - APHC
Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration's Monkeypox Outbreak Response, June 28, 2022 - The White House
Fact Sheet: West African Clade Monkeypox Virus Waste Management - APHC
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