Howard County Health Department Mpox Vaccination

HCHD is working with the Maryland Department of Health to provide Mpox vaccination for those individuals who qualify. HCHD is following CDC and MDH recommendations that vaccine is administered to:

  • Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who has had multiple, unknown, or new sexual partners, including those considered higher risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals; or
  • Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who are aware that one or more of their sexual partners has been exposed to Mpox.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for vaccination can call 410-313-7500 to schedule an appointment. Operators are standing by Monday - Friday during regular business hours.

Individuals with health/medical questions about Mpox should first contact their healthcare provider. Individuals may also email the Health Department at [email protected] or call 410-313-7500.

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Background
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Title
Signs and Symptoms
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Symptoms of mpox can include:

  • ​Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. If you experience any unexplained rash or other symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

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Transmission
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Mpox spreads in a few ways.

  • Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Direct contact with mpox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with mpox.
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with mpox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It’s also possible for people to get mpox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if mpox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.

Mpox has NOT been shown to be spread through brief casual contact, such as being in the same area, having casual conversation, or briefly touching shared items like doorknobs. People who do not have Mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

 

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Prevention
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People more likely to get mpox include:

  • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with mpox
  • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with mpox
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known mpox
  • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as:
    • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
    • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
    • Some designated healthcare or public health workers

 

Everyone can take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:​

  • Reduce your number of sexual partners.
  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you believe you came into contact with someone who has tested positive for mpox.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread mpox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
  • Healthcare providers treating potentially-infected patients should ensure that the patient is properly isolated and that the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used.

If you are sick with mpox, follow CDC guidance on how to isolate​ and disinfect at home to avoid exposing others.​

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Testing/Treatment/Vaccination
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Testing

Anyone with a rash that looks like Mpox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has Mpox. If there are no known Mpox contacts in your household, remember to ask your doctor what else this rash could be. 

Many healthcare providers, urgent care centers, and commercial labs offer Mpox testing for patients. While HCHD offers Mpox testing, priority is given to high-risk patients and those without insurance

Treatment/Vaccination

Antiviral treatment is made available to patients who test positive for Mpox and meet the requirements for treatment. HCHD is working with the Maryland Department of Health to provide Mpox treatment and vaccination for those individuals who qualify. HCHD is following CDC and MDH recommendations that vaccine is administered to:

  • Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who has had multiple, unknown, or new sexual partners, including those considered higher risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals; or
  • Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who are aware that one or more of their sexual partners has been exposed to Mpox.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for vaccination can call 410-313-7500 to schedule an appointment. Operators are standing by Monday - Friday during regular business hours.

Individuals with health/medical questions about Mpox should first contact their healthcare provider. Individuals may also email the Health Department at [email protected] or call 410-313-7500.

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Children & Young Adults
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Considerations for Children: At this time, the risk of Mpox to children and adolescents in the United States is low. Parents and healthcare providers should consider other common rashes when evaluating the need for Mpox testing in children due to the frequency of more common rashes and the possibility of a false positive test. 

CDC: What You Need to Know about Monkeypox if You are a Teen or Young Adult

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Information for Healthcare Providers
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Healthcare providers in Howard County who believe they have a patient with Mpox should contact the Health Department Outbreaks and Surveillance team by calling 410-313-1412.

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