Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread between people. Please go to this resource for the most recent information.
If you think you may be eligible to receive a monkeypox vaccine, please reach out to the following locations to schedule an appointment: Monkeypox Vaccination Locations
Note: At this time prioritization must be made for those people at highest risk. To learn who is currently eligible to receive a monkeypox vaccine visit: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/idb/Documents/MonkeypoxVaccinesinKY.pdf
As more doses of vaccine become available in Kentucky, the eligibility criteria and locations may change to allow for more widespread distribution.
Monkeypox is commonly found in central and west Africa where there are tropical rainforests and where animals that may carry the virus typically live. People with monkeypox are occasionally identified in other countries outside of central and west Africa, following travel to regions where monkeypox is endemic.
Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not.
The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
The illness begins with:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:
The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks.
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. People who may be at higher risk might include but are not limited to those who:
1. Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
2. Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
3. Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
4. Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
Monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox. The antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like people with weakened immune systems. Currently, due to limited vaccine supply, the CDC and Kentucky Department for Health (KDPH) have instructed us to vaccinate only the close contacts of someone who has tested positive for monkeypox. We have asked for additional doses. When they arrive the CDC and KDPH will also provide guidelines on additional at-risk individuals who will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Facts and prevention for people who are sexually active.
Monkeypox can spread from one person to another through close physical contact, including sexual contact. It is currently not known whether monkeypox can be spread through sexual transmission routes (e.g., through semen or vaginal fluids), but direct skin-to-skin contact with lesions during sexual activities can spread the virus.
Monkeypox rashes are sometimes found on genitals and in the mouth, which is likely to contribute to transmission during sexual contact. Mouth-to-skin contact could also cause transmission where skin or mouth lesions are present.
Monkeypox rashes can resemble some sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes and syphilis.
Ask you sex partners about symptoms. See if they have had any unusual rashes and sores in the last 3 weeks.
The risk of becoming infected with monkeypox is not limited to people who are sexually active or gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. Anyone who has close physical contact with someone who is infectious is at risk. Anyone who has symptoms that could be monkeypox should seek advice from a health worker immediately.