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Monkeypox Updates

posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2022.


Monkeypox Basics

Monkeypox is a potentially serious disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus, a virus from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Typically, monkeypox is predominantly found in Central and West African countries and does not spread widely across the United States.



Monkeypox Vaccine


Vaccine Eligibility

Based on eligibility criteria from DHS, vaccination is now available for:

  • Known contacts who are identified by public health officials via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments

  • Presumed contacts who meet one of the following criteria:
    • People who know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox,
    • People who attended an event or venue where there was known monkeypox exposure, OR
    • Gay men, bisexual men, trans men and women, any men who have sex with men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary individuals who have had multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days.

Vaccine Availability

The City of Racine Public Health Department currently has a limited supply of JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine available for Racine County residents who meet the above eligibility criteria. If you are eligible and would like to receive the vaccine, call 262-636-9431 to schedule an appointment.

Note the vaccine is a 2-dose series, with the first and second doses separated by 28 days.


Vaccination Basics

There are two vaccines approved for monkeypox, JYNNEOS and ACAM2000. JYNNEOS is the preferred vaccine for nearly everyone. You can read more about the differences in the vaccines on the CDC website. In the US, there is currently a limited supply of JYNNEOS, although more is expected in the coming weeks and months. Similar to the COVID-19 vaccines, the monkeypox vaccine is a two-dose series with doses separated by 28 days (4 weeks). Receiving both doses in the series is important for achieving the full protection that the vaccine can provide.



About Monkeypox

 Monkeypox is a disease that has been around for several decades. 

  • Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 among monkeys. The first human case was recorded in 1970.
  • Smallpox vaccines work on monkeypox. If someone has confirmed, high-risk exposure, the smallpox vaccine can be given to help prevent disease.
  • Most people recover from monkeypox without treatment or hospitalization. There are effective treatments for people with severe monkeypox.
  • The strain of the monkeypox virus that is spreading with the current outbreak is rarely deadly. Nearly everyone who gets this form of the disease will survive. However, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get very sick or die.
  • While this strain is rarely deadly, the symptoms can be extremely painful, and people might have permanent scarring as a result of the rash.



Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters and may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
    • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
    • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
    • Photos of the monkeypox rash can be found on the CDC's Monkeypox Signs and Symptoms website.

You may experience all or only a few symptoms. Sometimes people develop a rash first followed by additional symptoms, while others only experience a rash. However, most people with monkeypox will develop a rash.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone is infected with monkeypox and develops flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.

Monkeypox can be spread beginning at the time of symptoms. A person with monkeypox is considered contagious until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Call your doctor if you have symptoms of monkeypox. Available health care resources for the Racine-area can be found in this document.



Monkeypox and Risk

While the current outbreak is spreading through specific social networks, people of any gender, age, race, and sexual orientation can become infected with monkeypox. Monkeypox spreads in multiple ways. The virus most commonly spreads from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. The rash of someone with monkeypox can spread the virus until all sores have healed and are replaced with fresh skin.

Monkeypox can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. In addition, pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids is another way monkeypox spreads. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.