Important - Monkeypox Update

01 July 2022
Dr. Donald Spaner
Dear EMS Providers,

We have another virus of concern that we would like to inform all the providers about. Currently, per the CDC website as of today, we have a total of 3 cases of Monkeypox in the state of Ohio, and 1 confirmed Monkeypox in Cuyahoga County. The Health Department reported the individual has had minimum contact with others over the last 21 days, and close contacts seem well.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that is a rare disease caused by Monkeypox virus. It has similar symptoms to Smallpox but with milder symptoms and Monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to Chickenpox.

Symptoms include:
  1. Fever
  2. Headache
  3. Muscle aches and backaches
  4. Swollen lymph nodes
  5. Chills
  6. Exhaustion

The rash can look like a pimple or blister, that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other body parts, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The pictures I have reviewed seem to start like a pus forming pimple and expand larger than what a chickenpox pustule looks like. It then forms a scab before healing completely.

The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Apparently, some patients get a rash and then other symptoms. Others can simply only get the rash.

The virus can spread from person to person by direct contact with the infected rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. It can spread with respiratory droplets via close face to face contact or intimate contact like kissing, cuddling or sex. Clothing that has contacted infected lesions can also spread the disease. Mothers can also spread Monkeypox to the fetus via the placenta. More importantly, the patient is contagious from onset of symptoms until the rash is completely healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. It is also possible to get infected by animals via scratches bites or infected meat. People who do not have symptoms are not contagious.

We are asking that all Pre-Hospital Providers take the following steps to prevent exposure and infection to Monkeypox:

  1. Avoid close contact with the Monkeypox rash.
  2. Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with Monkeypox.
  3. Do not hug, kiss, cuddle or have sex with someone with Monkeypox.
  4. Do not share utensils or cups.
  5. Do not handle the bedding, towels, or clothing of a sick person, without appropriate precautions.
  6. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with a sick person.
  7. During patient care of anyone suspected of Monkeypox full protective measures will include, gown, gloves, glasses, head cover and N-95 mask. Dawning and doffing will be done to reduce exposure.

Currently it is the CDC recommendation that a patient with symptoms, including rash should isolate at home until completely healed which could take 2-4 weeks. At home and when possible, they should separate from other family members and pets.

I have reached out to other systems and we will be meeting this coming Tuesday for regional plans. As with Ebola, Covid and now Monkeypox, our region has done exceptional things when we work together. Please stay safe, healthy and our sincerest thanks for everything all of you continue to do to help all our communities. It is greatly appreciated.

Don Spaner, MD, UH EMS Institute President

Share This