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The spread of monkeypox is different than the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Monkeypox is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, the inside of the mouth, hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. Monkeypox infections are typically not severe; symptoms are usually similar to the flu with a rash and resolve within 2-4 weeks.
At this time, Clay County Public Health Center has not identified any cases of monkeypox in its jurisdiction. Kansas City, Missouri announced its first case of monkeypox on June 18, 2022.
On July 23, the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak to be a global health emergency. As of August 2, 83 countries are experiencing a monkeypox outbreak.
The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact.
Transmission can happen during sex or other intimate activities, such as:
People are unlikely to get the virus by trying on clothing in a store or touching nonporous items like door handles and counters. Additionally, some activities that people learned to limit during Covid-19 surges are probably not as risky for monkeypox transmission. For example, sitting on a subway, bus or other public transportation or going to an office or school are unlikely to put people at risk of a monkeypox exposure.
Any person, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can acquire and spread monkeypox. Currently, the vast majority of the known monkeypox cases are among men who have sex with men.
Traveling to a country currently experiencing an outbreak could increase your risk of contracting monkeypox. If you are planning international travel, check that country’s infection rate on the WHO website.
Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a health care provider. When you see a health care provider, wear a mask.
If you don’t have a provider or health insurance, call your local public health department. Clay County Public Health Center does not perform physical exams or accept walk-in appointments. Please call 816-595-4200 if you live in Clay County and need guidance.
Testing can be provided at Clay County Public Health Center on a case-by-case basis. No walk-ins will be accepted. Anyone who believes they have monkeypox symptoms (rash/lesions) should call Clay County Public Health Center at 816-595-4200.
To be tested at CCPHC and through the State Public Health Lab (SPHL), patients must have symptoms meet certain criteria*:
*What if I don’t meet requirements for testing?
If you do not meet the requirements for testing through the SPHL but still want to be tested, contact a health care provider who will take a swab of your lesions and send to a commercial lab. There may be costs. Please check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the lab's testing.
Commercial labs currently testing for monkeypox:
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, people who may be eligible for vaccination are:
Eligibility for each dose given will be determined on a case-by-case basis by Clay County Public Health Center Epidemiology staff and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Vaccines are only being given to people who have a known or likely exposure to a person with monkeypox within the last 2 weeks AND do not have symptoms. Call 816-595-4200 if you feel you may meet the eligibility criteria for vaccination.
Not at this time. Vaccine given past the 14-day window will not provide protection or reduce risk of symptoms.
Only a person who has likely been exposed to monkeypox already is eligible for vaccination.
We recommend you take precautions to protect yourself including avoiding skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox; not handing or touching the bedding, towels or clothing of a person who knows they have monkeypox; and washing your hands or using hand sanitizer often.
For gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, the following activities put you at high risk for exposure:
Hospitalization has been rare in the current outbreak, and no deaths have been reported from monkeypox in the U.S. But since the monkeypox rash can be painful and can cause permanent scarring, follow the latest guidelines to protect yourself.
The following websites are trusted sources for information about monkeypox.