On August 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox, also known as MPV, a public health emergency. This action may have caused concern and anxiety in members of our campus community; however, the risk of contracting MPV remains low. Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions UHS has received about MPV.
About the virus
How is MPV spread?
Monkeypox (MPV) can be spread from person to person through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with MPV rashes, sores, or scabs.
- Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPV.
- Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with MPV during prolonged face-to-face contact.
- This contact can happen during intimate sexual contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massage, kissing, and talking closely.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with MPV, such as bedding, towels, and sex toys.
- Humans can also get MPV from an infected animal through a bite or direct contact with the infected animal's blood, body fluids, or sores.
Can MPV be spread before an infected person has symptoms?
According to the CDC, scientists are still researching if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
Can MPV be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces?
According to the CDC, scientists are still researching whether MPV can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.
Is MPV predicted to disrupt daily life like COVID-19 has?
No. MPV is not nearly as contagious as COVID-19. Unlike COVID-19, which easily spreads through respiratory or airborne droplets, MPV primarily spreads through prolonged, physical contact or sharing of bedding or clothing with someone infected with MPV.
Can I get MPV from sharing a pen/pencil with someone who has MPV?
The risk of transmission from a pen or pencil that did not contact a rash, sore, or scab is minimal. However, if a lesion comes into contact with the pen or pencil, disinfect it and/or throw it away.
Are there any trainings available for employees about MPV?
A general awareness training is available through My Linc. Use this link or search "monkeypox" on the main screen.
Will I be notified if I had an exposure or if I may have been around someone with MPV?
Case investigation will be done by the Washtenaw County Health Department to determine if there are individuals that have had direct contact or household contact with the case. Notifications will be made to those individuals with specific guidance for their monitoring and care. The health department will make a determination of need for any community notifications based on risk assessment.
What should I do if I had direct prolonged contact with someone who has MPV?
Contact UHS to discuss post-exposure immunization. Wear a mask (surgical or N95/KN95) and monitor your health for 21 days. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms consistent with MPV.
Impact on activities
Can I travel on public transportation (bus, taxi, plane) if I have MPV?
If you are sick and could have MPV, delay travel by public transportation until you have been cleared by a healthcare professional or public health officials.
Who decides when I can finish isolation?
Your clinician and the health department can make this determination.
Will I be able to do any activities during my isolation period?
Complete isolation will be required if you are still experiencing symptoms other than rash. When your symptoms lessen, some activities may be possible depending on a risk assessment of your severity and location of the rash or sores that have not yet healed. A case investigator will assess your case and in most situations, individuals should be able to go to class, out in public, study at the library, and work. However, certain activities will need to be further reviewed, such as the type of work an individual does and types of courses to understand the potential risk to others. Using a public gym and residing in congregate living settings will not be allowed until rashes, sores, and scabs have completely healed.
How do I protect myself from MPV?
To help prevent MPV, it is recommended that you:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often.
- 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.
- It is important to make informed decisions about intimacy.
- If you are sexually active, the CDC has provided information about safer sex and lowering your risk of exposure to MPV.
How can I tell if a party or event will be high or low risk for MPV?
Take a personal inventory of the risk level of the parties and events that you plan to attend.
- Lower risk – a party or event where attendees are fully clothed, no intimate contact, and no shared drinks.
- Moderate risk – a party or event where there will be minimal clothing worn, shared drinks, and/or direct, skin-to-skin contact is likely.
- Higher risk – a party or event where anonymous sexual contact or sexual contact with multiple partners is likely.
Symptoms and healthcare
If I suspect I may have an MPV infection, what should I do?
Is there treatment for MPV?
There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.
Most people with MPV recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment.
Can I get treatment for MPV at UHS?
Yes. In addition to treating the symptoms of MPV, the UHS pharmacy has a limited supply of Tecovirimat (TPOXX) which can be prescribed on a case-by-case basis.
I’ve heard MPV can be painful. How is pain due to MPV treated?
Some people with MPV can experience significant pain. Your healthcare provider can help manage pain with a range of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Sometimes, treatment with TPOXX can shorten the duration of symptoms.
Should I wear my contact lenses while I have MPV?
Avoid contact lens use to prevent inadvertent infection of the eye. You should also avoid touching the eye in general.
What if I have symptoms of MPV but my lesions are healed?
You still need to isolate until your symptoms are resolved and you have been cleared by your healthcare provider and the local health department.
Can I get tested at UHS for MPV?
Yes, UHS offers testing (by appointment only). The testing involves swabbing a rash or sores and then sending the sample to the lab for testing.
When should I be tested for MPV?
If you have a rash or sores, these can be tested by your healthcare provider.