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Posted on 08/12/2022

What is Monkeypox?

It is a rare disease cause by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family as the virus that caused smallpox. Monkeypox is a milder disease and rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

How does Monkeypox present?

The typical presentation starts with one or more of the following symptoms: fever, headache, muscle/backache, exhaustion, sore throat chills, swollen lymph nodes. Then a rash appears, starting flat, then bumpy, and then fluid filled pox, until they dry up. The pox can be painful, and they can occur in the mouth and throat, on face, hands, feet (including palms and soles), chest, genitals, and anus. Many infections are not typical, meaning that having general symptoms followed by skin lesions is often not the pattern.

How long does it take to get Monkeypox after exposure, and how long does it last?

Once exposed, it can take 5 to 14 days before the first symptoms appear. Once they have appeared, it can take 2-4 weeks to self-resolve.

How is Monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox is most commonly spread by having direct contact with an infectious rash or pox. Exchanging body fluids with someone who has symptoms of Monkeypox can also spread the infection (e.g., kissing, sharing a straw). Prolonged face-to-face contact within 6 feet of someone who has symptoms can also cause spread. Skin exposure to objects that have been in contact with infected skin lesions (towels, bedsheets, wrestling mats) may also spread this infection.

How can students and staff protect themselves from Monkeypox?

  • Basic hygienic measures that everyone should be following anyhow, to protect from other diseases, will also protect you from Monkeypox. Specifically:
    • If someone is feeling sick, do not kiss or otherwise exchange saliva or other body fluids;
    • Individuals with fever and signs of illness (headache, sore throat, exhaustion, etc.) should be home and not in school;
    • If someone has new flat or raised or pox-like skin rash, do not touch those spots and do not cuddle, hug, wrestle, etc.
    • Before wrestling (or other skin-to-skin activities, like dance or rugby), all participants should check to be certain they have no new skin lesions.
    • Gym mats, yoga mats and other items should be cleaned between uses of separate individuals.
    • Do not share towels or clothing with others. h) Never share cups/straws, forks/spoons, water bottles, cigarettes, etc. with others. i) Reach your doctor if new skin lesions appear for a prompt diagnosis.

View the San Diego County Monkeypox Planning and Response Efforts notification.

For additional information, visit the Nursing and Wellness Program's Monkeypox page or SanDiegoCounty.gov.