8.11.22 – What You Need to Know About Monkeypox

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Recently, we’ve received some questions about monkeypox, so let’s answer your questions.

How can I get vaccinated?

The good news is that there are vaccines to prevent the spread of monkeypox. Right now there’s limited supply, so we’re focusing on people with the highest risk – close contacts of someone with monkeypox. With the FDA approval of a smaller vaccine dose and as supplies increase, we’ll be offering the vaccine to more people who are at high or moderate risk.

Who is at high risk?

People at highest risk are those with close contact, including sexual or intimate contact, with someone with monkeypox. People at high risk are men who have sex with men, particularly those with new, multiple, or anonymous sex partners. Other risk factors include, sharing bedding, towels or clothing with someone who has been infected.

Why is there so much focus on men who have sex with men?

Right now, monkeypox is mainly spreading in networks of men who have sex with men, particularly those with new, anonymous, or multiple sexual partners. But there are cases of monkeypox outside of those networks, so everyone should stay alert to the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.

How can I get tested?

If you’ve been exposed to monkeypox or have an illness you believe could be monkeypox, you should contact your healthcare provider. They can test for monkeypox and send it to a commercial lab, just like they do for a wide range of other tests. Urgent care centers can also test for monkeypox, but call ahead to make sure they’re ready for you. If you don’t have health insurance, you can contact us here at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, and we can test you.

There are ways to prevent monkeypox. For more information, you can go to our website at aahealth.org/monkeypox.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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