Monkeypox Patient Information

Monkeypox Patient Fact Sheet

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an emerging disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox can cause a rash that looks like pimples or blisters that can appear anywhere on the body. Sometimes there will be a flu-like illness and/or swollen lymph nodes.

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. This can include direct contact with the rash or scabs, body fluids, respiratory secretions, or fabrics (bedding, clothing, or towels) and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox. Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact such as hugging, kissing, prolonged face-to-face contact, oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or touching genitals.

After exposure to the monkeypox virus, there is an incubation period of 1-2 weeks before symptoms start or a rash begins to appear.

Monkeypox

  • Signs & Symptoms
    • Most people with monkeypox will get a rash
    • The rash may appear anywhere on the body including genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, and face, or in the mouth, vagina, or anus
    • Some people have flu-like symptoms 1-3 days before or during the appearance of rash
      • Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion
    • The rash can look like pimples, blisters, or small boils and may be painful or itchy
    • The rash will go through several stages including scabs, before healing
      • Monkeypox can be spread from when symptoms start until the rash is fully healed
      • Several weeks may pass before all scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed

    If you start experiencing these symptoms or have a new or unexplained rash, isolate from others immediately and seek care from a healthcare provider.

  • Duration of illness

    Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin is formed. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks. An individual is no longer contagious when all scabs have fallen off and fresh skin is formed.

  • Testing

    Your provider will collect several specimens from multiple lesions on your body. The public health department will follow up with you to discuss your lab results. 

    Isolation after visiting UTMB clinics/Emergency Department

    If monkeypox virus is suspected or confirmed, you should isolate until cleared by the public health department. Someone from the public health department will be contacting you to discuss your illness and isolation procedures.

     

  • Clinical care
    Many people with monkeypox will require no specific therapy.  However, some individuals will require medication for control of symptoms or an antiviral.  Speak with your healthcare provider about what treatments might be appropriate for you.
  • People with monkeypox should adhere to these recommendations until cleared by public health:
    • Do not leave the home except as required for emergencies or follow-up medical care.
    • Persons without an essential need to be in the home should not visit.
    • Avoid close contact with others and pets in the home.
    • Abstain from all sexual activity.
    • Do not share items that could be contaminated by the lesions (e.g., bed linens, clothing, towels, wash cloths). Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items (e.g., counters, light switches) using an EPA-registered disinfectant (e.g., List Q) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Examples include Clorox and Lysol disinfectant wipes.
      • Check that your cleaning products are EPA-registered and follow the product directions for cleaning and disinfecting. 
    • Wear a well-fitting mask or respirator for source control when in close contact with others at home.
    • Avoid use of contact lenses to prevent inadvertent infection of the eye.
    • Avoid shaving areas of the body with lesions as this can lead to spread of the virus.
    • Bathroom usage:
      • If possible, use a separate bathroom if there are others who live in the same household.
      • If there is not a separate bathroom in the home, clean and disinfect surfaces (e.g., counters, toilet seats, faucets) using an EPA-registered household cleaning product (List Q) after using a shared space if the lesions are exposed (e.g., showering, toileting, changing bandages covering the lesions). Consider using disposable gloves while cleaning if lesions are present on the hands.
    • Limit exposure to others:
      • Avoid contact with unaffected individuals until lesions have resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
      • Isolate in a room or area separate from other household members and pets when possible.
    • Limit use of spaces, items, and food that are shared with other household members.
      • Do not share dishes and other eating utensils. It is not necessary for the infected person to use separate utensils if properly washed. Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
    • Limit contamination within household:
      • Avoid direct contact with upholstered furniture and porous materials that cannot be laundered by placing coversheets, waterproof mattress covers, blankets, or tarps over these surfaces. Additional precautions such as steam cleaning can be considered if there is concern about contamination.
    • When possible, the person with monkeypox should change their own bandages and handle contaminated linens while wearing disposable gloves, followed by immediate handwashing after removing gloves.
      • As a last resort, if assistance is needed with these activities, a household member should avoid extensive contact and wear, at a minimum, disposable medical gloves and a well-fitting mask or respirator. Any clothing that contacts the rash during dressing changes should be immediately laundered. Gloves should be disposed of after use, followed by handwashing.

Sick or Exposed

Testing can be scheduled at any primary or urgent care clinic by calling Access Services at (409) 772-2222.

Treatment options will be discussed with your provider.

Latest News

Monkeypox: The myths, misconceptions — and facts — about how you catch it

Sexual contact is not the only way monkeypox is spread, points out infectious disease doctor Susan McLellan at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. But she agrees that it is by far the most likely way in this current outbreak, so far. “Epidemiological data for the outbreak in Western Europe and the United States makes that clear,” she said. “We're not detecting many cases in kids and individuals who aren't sexually active. We're detecting cases mostly in individuals from networks with a lot of sexual encounters."

Do meeting planners need to worry about monkeypox?

“During this outbreak, there will probably be at least one random case where somebody gets it on a bus. But, you know, that’s going to be profoundly rare, probably less likely than being hit by that bus,” Dr. Susan McLellan from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, said during a recent interview with NPR.

County keeps tabs on monkeypox

The Brazoria County newspaper reported that the U.S. cases of monkeypox appear to be transmitted more along sexual network pathways, quoting UTMB Biocontainment Care Unit Medical Director Dr. Susan L.F. McLellan. “That is one way it can be transmitted and the most common in the current outbreak,” she said. “It can be transmitted through other means, such as skin-to-skin between people who have contact with someone with a lesion and someone without. It is commonly spread through networks where individuals are having high-frequency sexual encounters with new partners.” Dr. McLellan also joined the July 26 Town Square program on Houston Public Media to answer questions about monkeypox.