Last updated: January 25, 2023
Mpox (formerly monkeypox) is rapidly evolving and new information will be provided as it emerges. The Department of Health is monitoring transmission in the U.S. and Maryland to identify cases. While it’s good to stay alert about emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of the general public getting mpox is very low.
If you have additional questions, please contact 410-222-7256.
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What is mpox?
A rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox is a public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals and materials contaminated with the virus. Mpox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.
Mpox is not a new virus. It was first identified in 1958. Historically, cases typically occur in Western Africa. When cases have been identified outside this region, including in the U.S., they have been related to international travel or the importation of animals. Recently, there has been a significant increase in reported cases worldwide, many of which are due to community transmission.
How does mpox spread?
It spreads through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This may include coming into contact with skin lesions or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials, such as bed linens or towels that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.
While mpox can infect anyone, many of the recent cases in 2022 have occurred among persons self-identifying as men who have sex with men (MSM), individuals who have anonymous sex, and sex workers.
Mpox can be spread through:
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions
- Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing
- Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
- Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
- Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (mainly happens when living with or caring for someone who has mpox)
Mpox is NOT spread through:
- Casual conversations
- Walking by someone with mpox, like in a grocery store
- Touching items like doorknobs
Mpox may start with symptoms like the flu, such as a fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches. Within 5 to 12 days after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores. Sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. They can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy.
Other symptoms may include:
- Body aches
Please call your medical provider if you think you may have been exposed to mpox and are showing signs and symptoms.
In most cases, mpox will resolve on its own. There are no treatments specifically for mpox virus infections. However, mpox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat mpox virus infections. Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.
Schools, Early Care and Education Programs
At this time, the risk of mpox to children and adolescents in the United States is low. The CDC has answers to frequently asked questions.
It is possible that people who are positive for mpox virus can spread it to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas and sharing food. Animals can also spread mpox virus to people. People with mpox should avoid contacts with any animal to prevent spreading the virus. If your pet is exposed to mpox:
- Do not surrender, euthanize or abandon pets just because of a potential exposure or mpox virus.
- Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.
- Keep them at home and anyway from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact. Infected people should not take care of exposed pets.
If you have mpox and did not have close contact with your pet, ask friends or family who live in a separate household to care for the animal until you have fully recovered. Before bringing the animal back into the home, disinfect the home following CDC recommendations.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Disinfection is recommended for all areas (e.g., home, vehicle) where a person with mpox has spent time, as well as, for items considered to be potentially contaminated. This includes linens, clothing and on environmental surfaces. It is recommended to use an EPA-registered disinfectant, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The CDC provides home cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
A number of ways to prevent spreading mpox:
- Talk to sexual partners about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on you or your partner’s body.
- Limit the number of sexual partners.
- Avoid close contact, including sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and kissing or touching each others bodies, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes.
- Practice safe sex by using condoms or other barrier methods the right way and using a new condom or other barrier method every time you have sex. Order a Safe Sex Kit.
- Practice good hand hygiene.
- Isolate infected persons until symptoms, including rash, have gone away completely
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), like a mask, gown and gloves, when caring for others with symptoms.
- Avoid contact with infected materials, such as towels, clothing, sheets, fetish gear, sex toys and toothbrushes.
- Avoid contact with infected animals.
Vaccines and Eligibility
Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. The Department of Health has expanded eligibility for the mpox vaccine, allowing vaccine distribution to anyone at high risk of infection to be vaccinated prior to exposure as supply allows.
Eligibility for the vaccine includes:
- Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who has had multiple or unknown sexual partners in the past two weeks, including those considered higher risk: gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals
- Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who are aware that one or more of their sexual partners from the past two weeks has been exposed to mpox
- Self-identified close contact of a person with mpox
- Impacted community member with potential mpox exposures in the prior two weeks
- Individuals whose jobs may expose them to mpox
The Jynneos vaccine is a two-dose vaccine given under the skin 28 days apart that should be given within 4 to 14 days after last exposure to mpox. This vaccine can be given to any age group. You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of the series. Recently, the CDC and FDA released an Emergency Use Authorization, allowing an alternative dose vaccination regimen.
What’s the new regimen?
The original Jynneos approval included the use of two 0.5 mL doses administered under the skin. The alternative regimen allows the use of two lower doses, 0.1 mL of vaccine administered as a shallow, superficial injection into the top layer of skin. That allows more people to get the vaccine.
Is it still effective?
Yes. Data shows that the smaller dose given as a shallow, superficial injection into the top layer of skin had a similar response to those who received the 0.5 mL dose under the skin. Studies show that administration in this way resulted in more redness, firmness, itchiness and swelling at the injection site. Spreading out the doses does not make it less effective.
Vaccination is currently not recommended for the general public for the prevention of mpox. We expect that vaccine availability will continue to increase in the coming weeks and months.
Anne Arundel County offers the vaccine at the following locations by APPOINTMENT ONLY:
Friday, January 27, 2023
|Dose 1||Baymeadow Drive 6701 Baymeadow Drive, Glen Burnie 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.||Register
|Dose 2||Baymeadow Drive 6701 Baymeadow Drive, Glen Burnie 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.||Register
Friday, February 03, 2023
|Dose 1||Baymeadow Drive 6701 Baymeadow Drive, Glen Burnie 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.||Register
|Dose 2||Baymeadow Drive 6701 Baymeadow Drive, Glen Burnie 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.||Register