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Outbreak 2022 Information and Resources


Kentucky Public Health. Prevent. Promote. Protect.

​​​​​​​​​Monkeypox is a ​disease caused by the monkeypox virus and spread through contact with the virus from an infected animal, infected person or virus-contaminated objects and materials. Direct contact with sores, scabs or body fluids of an infected person is the primary method of spread; but, it also may spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face or intimate contact with an infected person.

Monkeypox typically begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion followed by a rash. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks and infected persons are considered contagious while symptoms are present. Those concerned about monkeypox should contact their health care providers.

Frequently Asked Questions​​

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox symptoms may include a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body such as genitals. Additional flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, muscle aches and/or exhaustion. In some cases, it causes more serious complications like pneumonia and other illnesses. Most people do not require hospitalization or die from monkeypox. The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, physical contact with someone who has monkeypox. ​

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Painful, pus-filled bumps or sores in your mouth or other parts of the body 

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 we​eks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.​​

If you have symptoms or medical concerns about monkeypox, contact your local health department or healthcare provider. For more information about monkeypox visit the CDC website.​

Individuals in Kentucky  have been diagnosed with monkeypox infection. Testing capability recently was expanded to provide the opportunity for more Kentuckians to be tested. If you have symptoms of monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider about testing and treatment options. You can learn more about U.S. monkeypox outbreak 2022 and the Kentucky case count at the CDC website. ​

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling or sex. In addition, pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetuses through the placenta.

Touching items such as clothing or household linens that have been in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids is one way monkeypox spreads. It's also possible to get monkeypox from infected animals by being scratched or bitten by the animal or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.​​

Take the following steps to avoid getting monkeypox:
  • Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Have conversations with partners before close contact. 
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of person with monkeypox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have intimate contact with someone with monkeypox.
  • Do not share food, beverages, dishes, cups/glasses or eating utensils with someone who has monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch bedding, towels or clothing used or worn by someone with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you are sick with monkeypox

  • Isolate at home.
  • If you have an active rash or other symptoms, do your best to stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with.

Anyone who thinks they have monkeypox or have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox should visit a healthcare provider to help them decide if they need to be tested. If it is determined you should be tested, healthcare providers will work with you to collect specimens and send them to a laboratory for testing.

  • See a healthcare provider if you notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms.
  • Avoid close contact (including intimate physical contact) with others until a healthcare provider examines you.
  • Avoid close contact with pets or other animals until a healthcare provider examines you.
  • If you’re waiting for test results, follow the same precautions.
  • Follow the guidance of your healthcare provider for testing and treatment options.​​​

If you have symptoms or medical concerns about monkeypox, contact your local health department or healthcare provider. For more information about monkeypox visit the CDC website.

No treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections are available. However, because of genetic similarities in the viruses, antiviral drugs used to treat smallpox may be used to treat monkeypox infections. If you have symptoms of monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider about testing and treatment options.​

Yes. Vaccine doses are limited and being distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS vaccination strategy is intended to help limit the spread of monkeypox in communities where transmission is highest and among populations most at risk.

The vaccine is two doses given at least 4 weeks apart. Vaccine recipients are considered to have best immunity 2 weeks after the second dose. The vaccine helps prevent getting monkeypox and makes it less severe if you do contract monkeypox.

If you have been contacted by a local health department or health care provider, please make a follow-up appointment to discuss your vaccination options. ​​

Kentucky has a very limited supply of vaccine to give people with known high-risk exposures to monkeypox and are administering vaccine to those people. This use of the vaccine helps to protect people who have been around the individual with monkeypox. Planning is underway to offer vaccine to individuals who are high risk for contracting monkeypox virus, as vaccine availability increases over the next several weeks and months.  Criteria for vaccine eligibility will be based on the characteristics and risk factors of people who have been infected during the current outbreak. Vaccine distribution and administration will be conducted in partnership with the local health departments and community clinics. As more doses of vaccine become available in Kentucky, the eligibility criteria may change to allow for more widespread distribution. ​

At present, vaccination is being offered to presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:

  • Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox

It is expected that a limited number of vaccine doses will be available for individuals who are high risk for contracting monkeypox virus in the coming several weeks and months.  ​

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