Monkeypox  Virus (MPV)

Monkeypox (MPV) is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. MPV is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox.

Michigan detected its first case of monkeypox in June 2022. Globally, the first cases of monkeypox were reported in Europe and North America, rather than West or Central Africa where the virus is endemic, since early May 2022. 

While there are no treatments specifically for MPV infections, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat monkeypox infections. 

How is monkeypox transmitted? 

MPV is contagious when the rash is present until it has scabbed over and fallen off. Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after exposure to the virus. The rash typically lasts two to four weeks.  

Monkeypox is spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs and fluid from sores or saliva. It can also spread through prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory secretions. An individual with MPV and showing signs of the rash can transmit the virus through intimate activities, including:

  • Oral, anal and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus
  • Hugging, massaging and kissing
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact

 Other ways the virus can be transmitted include:

  • Touching fabrics and objects that were used by a person with monkeypox.
  • Being scratched or bitten by an infected animal or by preparing or eating meat using products from an infected animal.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

People infected with MPV usually develop a rash located on or near the penis, testicles, labia, vagina or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.Monkeypox rash examples

The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing and may initially look like pimples or blisters.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough

What should I do if I was exposed to monkeypox? 

People who develop monkeypox usually get symptoms 7-14 days after being exposed. If you develop the symptoms listed above, isolate yourself from others and contact your healthcare professional about getting tested for MPV.

What to expect when you get tested

  • You will need to complete routine paperwork.
  • The healthcare provider will swab across lesions of your rash—taking swabs from multiple lesions.
  • The healthcare provider will send the specimens to a lab to be tested for the monkeypox virus.
  • Results will be available within a few days.
  • While waiting for results, take precautions to avoid spreading MPV to others.

The state of Michigan has received a limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine, JYNNEOS, from the Strategic National Stockpile. If you know you have had contact with someone with MPV, contact the Health Department to discuss vaccine eligibility.

If you live outside of Berrien County, use this map to locate your local health department.

Resources for Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)

While monkeypox can spread to anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, the current outbreak outside the virus’s traditionally endemic countries in West and Central Africa have been largely affecting men who have sex with men.

According to the state’s vaccine strategy, men who have sex with men and have a history of sexually transmitted infections in the past year, individuals who plan to have multiple sex partners, individuals taking HIV PreP and those living with HIV should consider contacting their local health department to discuss vaccine eligibility.

Additional Resources

Name

Phone Number

Monkeypox Information

Centers for Disease Control
800-232-4636
https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
517-241-3740
https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/keep-mi-healthy/communicablediseases/diseasesandimmunization/mpv

The MPV outbreak is constantly evolving, and as new data becomes available, local, state, federal and global responses will adapt accordingly. The Berrien County Health Department continues to monitor the current monkeypox outbreak. Follow the Health Department on Facebook for updates or call us at 269.926.7121 during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.