They will offer the monkeypox vaccine to a limited number of at-risk residents


County health and human services officials announced today that they have received a limited number of doses of the monkeypox vaccine. Currently, the vaccine supply is very limited and the County, under the direction of the Maryland Department of Health, will only offer vaccines to a limited number of eligible residents who are most at risk of contracting the virus.

Residents who are identified by public health officials as close contacts of current monkeypox cases will be offered the vaccination. Public health staff from the county’s sexual health programs will work with nonprofit community organizations to identify residents who may be at risk and contact them directly to offer them an opportunity to be vaccinated.

Currently, monkeypox vaccines will be limited to:

  • Known contacts who are identified by public health through case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments.
  • Presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:
  • Know that a sexual partner in the last 14 days has been diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox.

The risk of monkeypox in the United States is thought to be low. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, and the time between exposure and when symptoms start gives public health officials time to trace contacts and break the chain of infection.

Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox. However, several cases in the current outbreak are among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.

People who do not have symptoms of monkeypox cannot spread the virus to other people. Although not considered a sexually transmitted infection, monkeypox can be spread during close physical contact between people. Anyone can get monkeypox if they have close contact with someone who has the virus.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Person-to-person transmission occurs through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, caressing, or sex.
  • Touching items such as clothing or sheets that previously touched the rash or body fluids of an infected person.
  • Pregnant women can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed. The illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks. People who do not have symptoms of monkeypox cannot spread the virus to other people.

Symptoms can often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash and skin lesions. Most cases of monkeypox do not require hospitalization, but monkeypox is highly contagious in people with symptoms.

Residents who believe they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact their health care provider or a community provider, such as an urgent care center. Those without a health care provider can also call the Disease Control Program at 240-777-1755. Individuals who believe they are in a high-risk group and meet the above criteria for vaccination may contact their health care provider or the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) clinic at 240-777-1751.

People who believe they have been exposed to monkeypox should avoid close contact with others until they are examined and tested for the monkeypox virus by a health care provider. They should avoid close contact with pets or other animals until they are examined and evaluated. If a person tests positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that they remain isolated until the rash has healed, all the scabs have fallen off, and a new layer has formed intact skin.

visit website County Department of Health and Human Services for additional information on monkeypox .

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