Mpox Treatment and Prevention
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is a rare disease caused by a very tiny germ, called the mpox virus. Like most viral infections, mpox may start with flu-like symptoms, including feeling exhausted, chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a stuffy nose, sore throat, or cough. These symptoms are usually followed by a flat rash on certain areas of your body, such as the genitals, anal region, face, mouth, hands, feet, and chest. Then, the rash can turn into raised, pimple-like sores that are filled with fluid or pus. And the rash is often very painful. This rash generally lasts for about a week before beginning to crust, scabbing over, and finally falling off as new skin appears. While there is no specific treatment for mpox, most people have mild symptoms and get better without needing one. The illness lasts about two to four weeks. However, since the rash is often very painful, your healthcare provider may advise you to take pain relievers to help you feel better. If your immune system is weak, or if you are pregnant and at risk for becoming very ill, you may be prescribed a medication, called an antiviral. To prevent catching mpox, here are some things you can do: avoid close contact with people who have mpox until after their rash has completely healed; avoid close contact with animals, such as monkeys and rodents, that may be infected; avoid touching areas and items that a person with mpox has used; and wash your hands often with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. People at high risk for getting mpox may be advised to get a vaccine that is effective against both smallpox and mpox. People at high risk are: those who have had close skin-to-skin contact in the last two weeks with someone who has, or may have, mpox, especially with men who have sex with men in a geographic area where mpox is spreading; and anyone whose job may expose them to Orthopoxviruses, such as lab workers and healthcare workers. The vaccines contain a weakened Orthopoxvirus, called vaccinia, which cannot multiply or cause disease. Since Orthopoxviruses are so similar, the vaccines can help protect against both the variola virus that causes smallpox and the mpox virus. If you were born before nineteen seventy-two and had the smallpox vaccine at that time or before, you may have some protection from severe disease. But you are not protected against getting infected or infecting someone else. For more information about the treatment and prevention of mpox, talk to your healthcare practitioner.