Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are currently reporting over 6,000 cases of the virus in the United States, and there are rising case counts in Massachusetts.
MIT Medical is closely monitoring this situation and is following the guidance of state and local agencies. This page includes information about the virus and its symptoms, links to government sources, and information on vaccinations and treatments. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.
If you have a rash or are experiencing monkeypox symptoms or have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, limit your contact with others, and contact MIT Medical for evaluation and further instructions.
If you have a primary care provider at MIT Medical, call 617-258-9355.
If you do not have a primary care provider, call MIT Medical Urgent Care at 617-253-1311.
For the safety of our patients and staff, do not enter the building without calling first.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. The most common symptoms include a fever; head, muscle, or back aches; swollen lymph nodes; chills; exhaustion; and respiratory symptoms, like a sore throat, cough, or nasal congestion.
Most individuals with monkeypox also develop a rash that looks like pimples or blisters. The rash may appear on or near the genitals or anal area, but also can appear on other areas of the body like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth. Example photos of the rash can be found on the CDC website.
Not everyone experiences every symptom, but most people with monkeypox will get a rash. Some people with monkeypox develop a rash before, or without, other symptoms.
How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads through direct contact with an infected person’s rash or respiratory secretions or through contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. Person-to-person spread most often occurs during close, personal, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact with an infected person’s genital regions, hugging, or massage. The virus can also spread through respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus, or through contact with clothing, bedding, towels, or other objects that have been used by an infected individual.
An individual with monkeypox is infectious to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
How long does monkeypox last?
The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.
I think I might have monkeypox; what do I do?
Do your best to limit contact with others. Call MIT Medical and tell us what is going on. We will tell you what to do next. Do not call an ambulance unless MIT Medical directs you to do so.
If you have a primary care provider at MIT Medical, call 617-258-9355
If you do not have a primary care provider, call MIT Medical Urgent Care at 617-253-1311
Does MIT Medical have the monkeypox vaccine?
No. Monkeypox vaccine supplies are limited, and distribution is managed by the Commonwealth. Eligibility for vaccinations is currently limited but is expected to expand as more doses become available. Current information about vaccine distribution and eligibility is available on mass.gov/monkeypox.
Will MIT Medical have a monkeypox treatment?
Maybe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved or authorized medicine for the treatment of monkeypox. However, an antiviral medication called TPOXX (tecovirimat) is being offered through the CDC under an FDA authority called Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use, often referred to as “compassionate use.” We are monitoring distribution of this medication, which is still in the early stages.
Is monkeypox fatal?
Deaths from monkeypox are extremely rare. The current outbreak has recorded only five deaths in almost 14,000 cases. However, monkeypox can lead to more serious complications, like pneumonia. Though monkeypox is rarely fatal, it can be extremely painful and uncomfortable.
How do I protect myself from getting monkeypox or giving it to someone else?
Although monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, intimate contact is a common method of transmission. If you or your sexual partner have noticed a rash or bumps in the genital area, you should avoid sexual contact and consult with a clinician right away by calling MIT Medical
It’s also a good idea to avoid sharing used bedding, towels, or clothes. For an expanded guide to prevention strategies, visit the CDC website.