What do you need to know about the monkeypox virus?

Posted 7/1/22

There’s a new virus in town, and public health officials want to get the word out about what it is, who is at risk, what the symptoms are and how to treat it.

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What do you need to know about the monkeypox virus?


There’s a new virus in town, and public health officials want to get the word out about what it is, who is at risk, what the symptoms are and how to treat it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) have reported more than 5,325 cases of the monkeypox virus in 33 countries as of June 30; 395 confirmed cases have been reported in 16 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S. and 41 confirmed cases in the Sunshine State.

In Florida, The Florida Department of Health says monkeypox is a rare disease, caused by a virus that can transmit from animals to humans, typically African rodents and monkeys where most cases have been reported.

People can pass it on to other people, once infected, but the risk is relatively low. It is not considered a very contagious disease, requiring prolonged, face-to-face contact, direct contact with an active rash or indirect contact of an active rash through contaminated clothing and other items.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, etc., and swelling of lymph nodes, eventually progressing to a rash. The duration of the infection is typically two to four weeks.

The FDOH suggests the following recommendations, listed on its website https://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/monkeypox/index.html: 

Prevention and Treatment

There are vaccines available for monkeypox. Vaccination is recommended:

  • Within 14 days of exposure to a person infected with monkeypox for those with high exposure risk and some intermediate risk exposures.
    • Vaccination should take place as soon as possible (within four days of exposure) to reduce the risk of disease onset.
  • For people with certain job-related risks, such as public health laboratory staff. 

For health care providers and household contacts of people with monkeypox, preventive vaccines are available through your county health department

Information for Health Care Providers

If health care providers suspect a possible case of monkeypox, immediately contact your county health department or the 24/7 disease reporting hotline at 850-245-4401. Local county health departments can help providers obtain monkeypox virus-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. 

Health care providers should remain vigilant of information related to monkeypox:

  • Monkeypox symptoms, especially among individuals with relevant travel history,
  • Transmission and incubation,
  • Specimen collection,
  • Infection control procedures in the home and hospital,
  • Clinical recognition, and the characteristic rash associated with monkeypox,
  • Prophylaxis and possible treatments for monkeypox, and
  • Monitoring of those exposed to monkeypox

Transmission can occur through:

  • Direct contact with an infected person or animal,
  • Direct contact with infected materials, such as an infected person’s clothing or hospital bedding,
  • Breathing in or other exposure to large respiratory droplets during extended contact (3 hours or more) with an infected person without appropriate respiratory protection, such as a fit-tested, NIOSH-approved N95 respirator.
  • It is not known whether sexual transmission occurs. It can take between 5 and 21 days to show symptoms of monkeypox after infection.

According to the CDC, because monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective against monkeypox.  Prior to 1972, smallpox vaccination was one of the routine vaccinations required in the United States for children entering school. Routine smallpox vaccination for the American public stopped in 1972 because smallpox was eradicated in the U.S.   

monkeypox, CDC, FDOE