MARQUETTE – Currently, there are no known monkeypox cases in the U.P. or Marquette County.
The total confirmed US cases are less than 8,000. Monkeypox is reported in 13 Michigan counties totaling less than 80 cases. Marquette County Health Department wants to inform Marquette citizens and visitors more about monkeypox and that testing, treatment and vaccine are locally available.
Most monkeypox infections are currently from gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men or their contacts, including household members (including children). The median age of patients is 35 years (ranging from 18 to 76). Ninety-nine percent were assigned male sex at birth and had reported male-to male sexual contact or intimate exposure. However, it is anticipated that this may change with the continual spread of this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- All patients have a rash that looks like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person to person through:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
It is also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, by preparing or eating meat, or by using products from an infected animal.
Monkeypox can spread from when symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
According to the CDC, patients who should be considered for treatment:
- People with severe diseases requiring hospitalization
- People who are immunocompromised
- Pediatric populations, particularly patients younger than eight years of age
- People with a history or presence of atopic (allergic dermatitis and other illness)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Lesions in the eyes, mouth, genitals, or anus
Secondary to the limited supply, the monkeypox vaccine is currently limited to post-exposure prophylaxis. The CDC recommends that the vaccine be given within four days from exposure for the best chance of preventing the onset of the disease. If delivered between 4 and 14 days from exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of the disease but may not prevent the disease.
- People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox
- People who know one of their sexual partners in the past two weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
- People who had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area with known monkeypox
As vaccine supply increases, guidance will change. Currently, the vaccine is only available through local health departments. If you think you meet the vaccination criteria, please get in touch with your health care provider or contact Marquette County Health Department at 906-475-9977.