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Preventing the Spread of Monkeypox

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a contagious viral disease caused by the same family of viruses-orthopoxvirus-that causes small pox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder and rarely fatal.

How do you get monkeypox?

You get monkeypox from close skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a rash or scabs from monkeypox.  Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through direct contact with infected lesions, or fluids, or by contact with contaminated materials like clothing or bedding.  It also includes contact with respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact and sexual contact.

What can I do to protect myself from getting monkeypox?

  1. Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash.
  2. Do not share silverware or cups with people who may be infected.
  3. Avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  5. Practice safe sex.
  6. Use personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) when caring for an infected person.

For information on safer sex and social gatherings, please see the CDC webpage on monkeypox and sexual health.

What is the virus incubation period?

Monkeypox has an average incubation period of 6 to 13 days where the person does not have symptoms.  A person is not contagious during this period.

What is the University of Pittsburgh doing in response to monkeypox?

The University of Pittsburgh and leading UPMC experts are working in collaboration with the Department of Health to monitor monkeypox cases locally and the potential impact on the region.

I think I have monkeypox, can I get tested at the Pitt-Greensburg Health Center?

No, not currently.  Please call the Pennsylvania Department of Health-Westmoreland County State Health Center at (724) 832-5315 for information on available testing.

How do I get a monkeypox vaccine?

The monkeypox vaccine is available for individuals who meet specific close-contact criteria. The vaccine can prevent disease if given within four days of exposure to the virus.  For more information on vaccine availability, please call 877-PA-HEALTH to help you evaluate your risk and tell you where to get a monkeypox vaccine.

What is the treatment for monkeypox?

Most patients have mild illness and require no treatment.  Currently, there is no treatment specifically approved for monkeypox virus infections.

TPOXX (tecovirimat) is still listed as an investigational drug and is therefore controlled by and distributed directly from the CDC to health departments.  It is currently reserved for people with severe symptoms.

Why did the White House declare monkeypox a public health emergency?

This declaration facilitates access to emergency funds, allows health agencies to collect data about cases and vaccinations, accelerates vaccines distribution, and makes it easier to prescribe treatment.

Please feel free to reach out to the Health Center number if you have further medical questions, (724) 836-9947.