What is Mpox?
Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. Mpox is not related to chickenpox.
Mpox can cause a rash which may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness. While CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/Mpox/index.html) works to contain the current outbreak and learn more about the virus, it is important to have information so you can make informed choices when you are in spaces or situations where mpox could be spread.
What are the Symptoms?
Mpoxs most identifiable symptom is development of skin rash or skin bumps in various parts of body like arms, legs, genital areas and inside the body cavities like mouth and anus.
Some other prominent symptoms include High Fever (>100 F), Fatigue, and body ache.
The symptoms do not have a definite order of sequence of occurrence. Symptoms can onset between 1-4 days after exposure (days may vary case by case) and can last anywhere between 2-4 weeks (timeline may vary case by case).
How is Mpox Spread?
Mpox is most often spread by close, personal, and skin to skin contact which may include:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluid of infected person
- Touching objects, fabrics (including clothes, bedsheets etc.) and surfaces that may be contaminated by someone having mpox.
- Contact through respiratory excretions during prolonged, face to face contact, or during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling or sex.
Can I get a Mpox vaccine?
There is a vaccine available. However, in Ohio at this time it is only recommended that high-risk individuals get the vaccine due to the limited number of vaccines given to the state from the CDC National Stockpile. (https://www.phe.gov/about/sns/Pages/default.aspx)
Mpox vaccines are not currently available to the general public in Warren County. With time, and depending on the supply of the vaccine, there may be a change in the eligibility.
It is recommended to get vaccinated if you meet the following criteria:
- People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with mpox.
- People who may have been exposed to mpox, such as:
- People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with mpox.
- People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known mpox.
- People whose jobs may expose them to Orthopoxviruses, such as:
- Laboratory workers who perform testing for Orthopoxviruses.
- Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with Orthopoxviruses.
- Some designated healthcare or public health workers
Please be aware that the vaccine will not stop the virus from entering the body, but helps towards reducing severity of symptoms and recovery. If you think you have been exposed or have symptoms, immediately contact your healthcare provider, who will work with local health department to set up testing and vaccination depending on eligibility.