Boynton Health will be transitioning to using “mpox” when referring to monkeypox disease in its materials and webpages. This is in response to recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) to adopt the new term to decrease stigma and minimize any ongoing negative impact with the current name. For more information, refer to WHO recommends new name for monkeypox disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are also adopting the new term and will update their webpages.
Boynton Health is giving the JYNNEOS (MPX) 2-dose vaccine to those who meet the eligibility guidelines. Consistent with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, Boynton Health is using a screening process and prioritizing vaccination for people at highest risk for MPX.
Right now, the MPX vaccine is for people who do not have symptoms of MPX infection, and:
- People who have been exposed to MPX in the last 14 days
- People living with HIV
- Identify as gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men
- Transgender people (including trans men, trans women, or nonbinary or gender-nonconforming people).
- People who engage in sex work, or exchange sex for food, money, substances, shelter, etc.
If you are eligible and wish to be vaccinated for MPX please call to schedule an appointment, 612-625-3222, or visit your MyBoynton patient portal to schedule an appointment at the immunization clinic.
Use the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine locator to find locations for the MPX vaccine.
What is Mpox?
Mpox is an infection caused by a virus. This virus is part of the Orthopox genus which includes smallpox and cowpox.
How does Mpox spread?
Mpox spreads in a few ways.
- Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
- This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massage, and kissing.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
What should I do if I develop a fever or rash?
If you have a new or unexplained rash, fever, or other symptoms:
- Avoid close contact, including sex or being intimate with anyone, until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider.
- Call Boynton Health at 612-625-3222 or your primary care provider. Tell the scheduler if you have a fever and/or an unexplained rash and would like to be tested for monkeypox. At Boynton Health, you will need to be seen in the Urgent Care clinic.
- When you see a healthcare provider, wear a mask, and remind them that this virus is circulating in the area.
Who is at elevated risk of developing complications from monkeypox?
- Immune-compromised people
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- People younger than 8 years of age
- People with a severe Monkeypox disease (e.g., hemorrhagic disease, confluent lesions, sepsis, encephalitis, secondary bacterial skin infections, nausea/vomiting/dehydration)
How long after an exposure can I expect to see symptoms, if they occur, and how long does it last?
Mpox symptoms will usually start within 3 weeks of exposure, and the illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.
What are the signs or symptoms of mpox?
According to the CDC, symptoms of mpox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy may be located on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The CDC has provided these photos showing examples of mpox rashes.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
You may experience all or only a few symptoms:
- Most people with monkeypox will get a rash.
- Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Mpox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
Mpox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
How do I protect myself from getting mpox?
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like a monkeypox rash including sexual contact
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used, including but not limited to eating utensils or cups, bedding, towels, or clothing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
How is mpox diagnosed?
- To diagnose mpox, your healthcare provider takes a tissue sample from an open sore (lesion), and sends it to a lab for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing (genetic fingerprinting). Your healthcare provider will notify you of your test results.
What should I do if I am diagnosed with mpox?
CDC recommends that people with mpox remain isolated at home or at another location for the duration of illness which means:
- While symptomatic with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, including sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough, remain isolated in the home and away from others unless it is necessary to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency.
- While a rash persists but in the absence of a fever or respiratory symptoms
- Cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves, and/or bandages.
- Wear a well-fitting mask to prevent the wearer from spreading oral and respiratory secretions when interacting with others until the rash and all other symptoms have resolved.
- Masks should fit closely on the face without any gaps along the edges or around the nose and be comfortable when worn properly over the nose and mouth.
- Until all signs and symptoms of monkeypox illness have fully resolved:
- Do not share items that have been worn or handled with other people or animals. Launder or disinfect items that have been worn or handled and surfaces that have been touched by a lesion.
- Avoid close physical contact, including sexual and/or close intimate contact, with other people.
- Avoid sharing utensils or cups. Items should be cleaned and disinfected before use by others.
- Avoid crowds.
- Guidance for those who live in a congregate setting can be found here.
- Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after direct contact with the rash.
What is the treatment for Mpox?
If you have symptoms of mpox, have had contact with someone who has mpox, or have been diagnosed with mpox you should talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options.
Should I get a Mpox vaccine?
Smallpox and mpox vaccines are effective at protecting people against mpox when given before exposure to mpox. Experts believe that vaccination after a mpox exposure may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who may be more likely to get mpox.
If you have additional questions, please contact your primary healthcare provider for concerns specific to your medical care.
Questions & Answers on mpox from Information Session held on 11/3/2022 in partnership between the Gender and Sexuality Center and Boynton Health
Answers provided by Boynton Health
How concerned should I be about mpox?
What should I do if my roommate tests positive for mpox?
You would be eligible for the mpox vaccine and should ideally receive it within 4 days of exposure, and within 14 days of exposure. Follow prevention steps such as avoiding close contact and practice regular hand washing. You will be contacted by the Minnesota Department of Health for next steps.
What are the eligibility requirements for mpox vaccination?
What if I can’t get both doses?
You will likely get some protection even after one dose. However, completing the two dose series spaced 28 days apart is recommended. You will have the highest level of protection 2 weeks after the second vaccine.
Do I have to disclose my sexuality to get vaccinated?
No. You need to meet the eligibility criteria to be vaccinated, but you will not be asked specifically how you qualify, only that you meet eligibility criteria.
Are there any side effects to the vaccine?
The most commonly reported side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the vaccine site. Less than half of people who receive the vaccine also reported headache, fatigue and muscle aches.
If I don’t engage in MSM (men who have sex with men) would you recommend getting the vaccine?
If you meet any of the eligibility criteria, it is recommended to get a mpox vaccine.
If you have more questions, please, call the Boynton Nurse Line at 612-625-7900. Calls are answered seven days a week, 24 hours a day.