Aug. 11, 2022

Dear UMB Community,
 
As the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s public health officer, I’d like you to be aware of a recent public health problem, and what to do about it: monkeypox (MPXV). See below for information about this disease, what to do if you think you may have contracted or been exposed to MPXV, and how to prevent spreading the disease.  
 
  • What is monkeypox?
  • Monkeypox is a disease that causes fever and rash from the virus MPXV, an “orthopoxvirus” similar to smallpox, but less severe and rarely fatal.
  • MPXV was a previously rare disease that is currently increasing in prevalence.
 
  • How can it be spread?
  • You can contract MPXV through direct skin-to-skin contact with infected MPXV rash, scabs, or body fluids or objects/fabrics that have been in contact with infected persons. Sexual contact is one kind of skin-to-skin contact with especially high-risk activities including oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
  • Other forms of skin-to-skin contact include hugging, massaging, kissing, prolonged face-to-face contact, or contact with respiratory secretions. Note that this virus is not airborne but can potentially be spread by contact with respiratory droplets when in prolonged close contact with someone infected.
  • Click here for more information on myths and misconceptions about spreading MPXV.
 
  • How do I prevent the spread?
  • Always practice safe sex. Avoid all close, skin-to-skin contact (e.g., sexual contact, kissing, and touching) with infected or exposed individuals or those with a fever or new skin lesions, including contact with objects and materials from such individuals.
  • Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Isolate (if suspected infection) and avoid close contact (if high-risk exposure).
 
  • What are symptoms I should look for?
  • Rash, fever/chills, and swollen lymph nodes are most common.
  • Less common are headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough).
  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for examples of typical MPXV rashes here.

  • What should I do if I have symptoms or a high-risk exposure?
  • If you have any symptoms of MPXV, call your health care provider. They will ask you questions and schedule an exam.
  • You can also call Student/Employee Health at the UMaryland Immediate Care (UMIC) (667-214-1899) for an appointment for evaluation. The UMIC clinical team is prepared to assist students and employees with this, including testing, if needed, using your personal insurance.
  • If possible, isolate immediately and avoid sex or any close contact with other people until you have been seen by a health care provider, and follow their guidance. 
  • If you have had an intermediate- or high-risk exposure to MPXV (see here for what constitutes such exposures), you do NOT need to quarantine but should avoid sexual or other close contact with people and monitor for symptoms for 21 days, including taking your temperature twice daily. Your health care provider will need to evaluate you immediately and consider providing you post-exposure prophylaxis with one of the two approved vaccines (ACAM2000 or Jynneos) as soon as possible after your exposure.

  • Can I get MPXV from a colleague at work or student in my class?
  • It is highly unlikely you would get MPXV through normal interactions with a colleague at work or while interacting with another student during class. In fact, there are no known cases from these types of interactions.

  • Is additional cleaning required of offices, classrooms, or common areas at UMB such as bathrooms and kitchens?
  • Additional cleaning is not required.

  • Patient Care Settings
  • If you are working in a clinical setting and encounter a suspected MPXV case, standard precautions (listed above) should include a gown, gloves, eye protection, and a fit-tested N95 respirator. 
  • Patients should be immediately isolated away from public spaces into a single-person room. Travel and movement within the clinic should be limited to essential purposes. Patients should be instructed to cover lesions as best as possible and to use a surgical face mask.
  • Alert supervisors and those who are attending to possible MPXV infections.


If you have questions, please contact UMBOccupationalHealth@som.umaryland.edu.
 
 
Stay healthy, 
 
Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH  
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine 
UMB Public Health Officer
This note was authorized for distribution to the University of Maryland, Baltimore community by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs