La Salle University is closely monitoring the local effects of monkeypox, a communicable disease that is spread most frequently through skin-to-skin contact. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and the White House recently declared public health emergencies in response to rising monkeypox cases globally and domestically.
Here is more information on the monkeypox virus:
Monkeypox is a virus in the same family as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Its symptoms are similar to smallpox, but monkeypox is less severe and rarely fatal. More information is available from the CDC.
In late July, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) declared the global monkeypox outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern.”
According to the CDC, monkeypox spreads most often through close, personal, and skin-to-skin contact, including:
People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Signs or symptoms consistent with monkeypox can include:
It usually takes seven to 14 days from the time of infection for a person to start feeling symptoms of the disease, but the incubation period can also range from five to 21 days.
Within one to three days after the appearance of fever, a rash will typically develop, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash will eventually dry up, scab up, and fall off. Symptoms typically last two to four weeks.
Monkeypox can be diagnosed using either a blood test or a sample topically taken from erupted skin rash or lesions. Testing typically requires 48-72 hours to be processed and have results reported. Individuals who test positive for Monkeypox virus should discuss options for symptomatic treatment with his/her healthcare provider.
If a person has symptoms of monkeypox, they should call their regular healthcare provider immediately. If they don’t have a healthcare provider, visit https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov to find a public health clinic or visit an urgent care facility.
CDC guidance, issued in early August, recommends that people with monkeypox remain in isolation for the full duration of their illness, which could last between two and four weeks.
The CDC says most people with monkeypox in the current global outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can contract the virus, and should therefore take steps to protect themselves.
Monkeypox has a very low mortality rate for most people, according to the CDC. Infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in the current global outbreak — the West African type — are rarely fatal. Although symptoms can be painful and permanent scarring may result from the rash, more than 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive.
The preferred vaccine to protect against monkeypox is JYNNEOS, which is a two-dose vaccine. It takes 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS for its immune protection to reach its maximum.
According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), demand for the vaccine exceeds available supply. PDPH offers information on national and local distribution of the monkeypox vaccine through its website. There, you also can review a local vaccine dose distribution chart.
Pennsylvania residents can call 1-877-PA-HEALTH for the most current information on availability and vaccination sites.
The CDC offers these prevention tips:
Review the CDC’s suggestions for safer sex and social gathering practices.
The La Salle Student Health Center is available to answer questions and to assist in guiding access to available resources. Located on the first floor of St. Benilde Tower, the Student Health Center can be reached by phone (215-951-1565) or email (StudentHealth@lasalle.edu).
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have prepared monkeypox fact sheets that provide additional information. Locally, the Pennsylvania Department of Health also offers more info.