Monkeypox specimen collection must be performed by a healthcare provider. TriCore will not be collecting Monkeypox specimens at our Patient Care Centers.
What is Monkeypox? Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, an Orthopox virus. The virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Prior to the current outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. While monkeys can be infected and transmit the virus to humans, it’s still unknown which animals are the true reservoir in nature.
Symptoms of infection include a characteristic rash on or near the genitals or anus, but can also involve other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms.
Is It Dangerous? Monkeypox symptoms are like smallpox symptoms, but milder. Infections with the type of monkeypox virus in the US outbreak are rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, there is an increased risk of serious illness or death in people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Is It Diagnosed? Dry swabs of skin lesions are submitted for an Orthopox virus PCR assay. As there are no other Orthopox viruses circulating in the US, a positive Orthopox PCR is considered a positive test for monkeypox. However, monkeypox appears similar to other infections, particularly sexually transmitted infections, and additional blood tests are likely to be ordered for the workup. Monkeypox specimen collection must be performed by a healthcare provider. TriCore will not be collecting Monkeypox specimens at our Patient Care Centers.
How Is it Transmitted? Monkeypox can spread from person to person through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. This includes direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids, contact with respiratory secretions, and touching objects or surfaces that were previously used by someone with monkeypox. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
- Standard precautions will keep you safe: continue to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) per routine policy and follow precautions described in Community Settings above. PPE will keep you safe even if you are at higher risk.
- Phlebotomists are not at increased risk of infection and do not require vaccination.
- Currently, only laboratory workers directly handling/testing swabs for monkeypox are recommended by CDC to receive monkeypox vaccines.