Monkeypox Testing: What You Need To Know
Monkeypox is a highly contagious virus that affects both monkeys and humans. Per the 2022 outbreak cases and data (till 30th September 2022) provided by CDC, there have been two deaths, 26,049 U.S. cases, and 68,874 cases globally. Monkeypox is most dangerous for children, who are more likely to develop severe symptoms. An infected person spreads the virus through contact with saliva and mucus.
In 1958, two outbreaks (pox-like disease) occurred in monkeys that were kept for research. It was then that monkeypox was first discovered. Even though it is named “monkeypox,” its source is still unknown. But non-human primates (like monkeys) and African rodents might carry the virus and then infect people.
It was in 1970 when the first case of monkeypox was recorded in humans. Before the outbreak could be contained, monkeypox had spread to people in several African countries and those in the area of origin. This was found outside of Africa for the first time. Cases have been reported on multiple continents due to international travelers or imported animals. In the U.S., the first case was reported in Texas in 2003 due to animals brought over here, then reappeared in 2021 via a Nigerian man traveling to USA.
Monkeypox is a rare and severe viral illness that can be spread through direct contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person. Prevention involves avoiding close contact with infected people and washing your hands regularly. If you are concerned that you may have contracted monkeypox, please consult your doctor.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
Majorly, monkeypox can spread via close or personal contact, often skin-to-skin. This includes direct contact with monkeypox scabs, rash, or body fluids transferred from an individual who already has monkeypox. If you touch objects, surfaces, or clothes that have already been used by a person suffering from monkeypox, you can also get it.
Here, direct contact includes intimacy, such as oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Even the touching of the genitals (both male and female) of a person with monkeypox can cause it. Further, hugging, massaging, kissing, and prolonged face-to-face contact can spread the virus.
Monkeypox, a rare disease, causes fever, swollen glands, and rash. Most people who get monkeypox develop mild symptoms that last for about five days. It usually spreads among kids or teens under the age of 15. Symptoms of Monkeypox will show up a few days after being infected. These symptoms can include a fever, red rash, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle pain. If left untreated, monkeypox can cause serious health problems, including death.
Monkeypox is not easily transmitted between people without close contact. Monkeypox spreads through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact – mostly through intimate sexual 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 through prolonged face-to-face contact.
The virus can spread from the time symptoms begin until all sores are resolved. A person should remain isolated until the scabs from the rash fall off and new skin forms – this marks the point where a person is no longer contagious.
Is there treatment for monkeypox?
While there are no specific treatments for monkeypox, antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), and other treatments for smallpox may be effective against monkeypox. The type of treatment for a person with monkeypox will depend on how sick someone gets or whether they are likely to become severely ill. Most people with monkeypox recover fully within 2-4 weeks without the need for medical treatment. Drugs used to treat monkeypox require a prescription.
Consult your healthcare provider if you were exposed to or suspect you have monkeypox. For more information on the treatment of monkeypox, visit the CDC website.
Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?
The vaccine, JYNNEOSTM – known as Imvamune or Imvanex – is currently available in the U.S. with limited supply. The two-dose live vaccine, administered four weeks apart, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for preventing monkeypox in high-risk groups.
The CDC identifies people who are more likely to contract monkeypox and, therefore, eligible for the vaccine as those who:
- Have been in contact with someone with monkeypox;
- Know that one of their sexual partners in the last two weeks has been diagnosed with the virus; and
- Have had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in areas of known monkeypox.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose. They can be vaccinated at approved vaccination centers (Monkeypox vaccine locator).
– Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze and cough. Monkeypox is spread through droplets from the respiratory system.
– A void close contact with wild monkeys, as they may carry the virus.
-Wash your hands often, especially after touching animals or surfaces contaminated with monkeypox.
For now, testing is only recommended if you have a rash on your skin consistent with monkeypox. If you have had close personal contact with someone who has developed the disease, visit a healthcare provider.
If a specimen needs to be taken, the healthcare provider can handle it, or you can go to a lab for both collection and testing. Contact your local health department to find out what testing options are available in your area.
What to Expect?
- Before getting tested, specific paperwork must be filled out.
- Healthcare providers will use swabs to rub across your rash’s surface to take a specimen for testing. It may be uncomfortable, but these steps are necessary to detect the monkeypox virus.
- The samples will be sent to a lab to detect the monkeypox virus. Usually, the result comes in a few days.
If you do have an infection, the result will come as positive. In that case, take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you. A negative impact is a confirmation that you don’t have the disease. In case of an inconclusive test result, a re-test will be done with a new specimen.
Home instructions for Monkeypox
The first thing one must do is indulge in isolation and must continue to do so until the scabs/ rashes have gone. It would help if you broke isolation only when you see a new/ fresh skin layer has formed completely. The following recommendations must be taken seriously –
- You must stay home until you need a medical check-up or urgent care
- Others should not visit unless they have an essential need to be in your home.
- Avoid interacting with other people and animals. If you have been in contact with an animal that becomes sick, don’t hesitate to contact a veterinarian or pet control.
- There must be zero physical contact, such as sex.
- No items (may or may not be contaminated) must be shared.
- Clean and disinfect the surfaces that are touched often.
- Limit contact with surfaces that cannot be washed by using items like sheets, mattress covers, blankets, or tarps to cover them.
- Those in close contact with others in homes should always wear masks. They should also ensure they are well-fitting masks, so they don’t get compromised.
- If others are living with you in your home, try not to use the same bathroom.
- Wash your hands often with good hand soap, especially after touching surfaces that you think may have had contact with your itchy rash.
- You should change your dressings and linens while wearing gloves.
TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track is fully equipped to test for orthopoxvirus/ monkeypox via LabCorp. LabCorp will report any positive cases directly to the Florida DOH and CDC.
Where can I get more information about Monkeypox and Monkeypox Testing
For more information on monkeypox, current outbreak data and demographics, prevention strategies, concerns for children, and other virus information, visit:
The CDC monkeypox information page
Additionally, we offer onsite diagnostic procedures, including X-rays, EKGs, blood draws, urinalyses, drug screens, Monkeypox testing and more, so you can receive a full diagnosis without having to visit an outside lab or imaging center. We also have an onsite pharmacy and can fill most prescriptions so you can get on the path to wellness as soon as possible.
If you would like additional information about the common illnesses and minor injuries we treat at our locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, contact TGH Urgent Care today. We accept most major medical plans and offer discounted self-pay options to patients who are uninsured.