Monkeypox cases reported in several countries, including the United States, have prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue guidance on how to assess patients for possible infection.
Specifically, health care providers are being urged to be alert for rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether the patient has a travel history to central or west African countries. Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, malaise, headache, and lymphadenopathy (a feature that distinguishes it from smallpox).
Following the prodrome, lesions start to develop in the mouth and on the body and progress through several stages before falling off. In some cases, genital lesions may develop, which may make it difficult to distinguish between monkeypox and other common infections.
Patients suspected of monkeypox should be isolated in a negative pressure room. Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn by staff when they are near suspected cases. State health departments and the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center should be consulted on any suspected cases of monkeypox.
The CDC is currently investigating 1 case of monkeypox in a Massachusetts resident who recently traveled to Canada. Several other cases have been reported in Europe. It is unclear how these individuals were exposed to monkeypox, which is spread through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores, and respiratory droplets.
At this time, there are no specific treatments available for monkeypox in the US. One vaccine, Jynneos (smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, live, non-replicating; Bavarian Nordic), has been approved in the US for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox in adults 18 years of age and older determined to be at high risk for these infections.
CDC and health partners responding to monkeypox case in the US. News release. May 18, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0518-monkeypox-case.html