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DOH prepares for the arrival of monkeypox in the Territory

By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua

Monkeypox is a rare disease, caused by a virus related to the smallpox virus. Monkeypox does not easily spread, unless there is extended close contact. Monkeypox is usually mild and resolves within 2 to 4 weeks. Typically monkeypox symptoms may begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. In some cases, it may begin with a rash, often as sores in the mouth, and on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. Some people with monkeypox may develop a rash without any other symptoms. As explained by Dr Lauvao, Monkeypox can spread through skin-to-skin contact, but also through dirty surfaces, unwashed sheets, and even, over short distances, airborne spit.

Lauvao advises the public to avoid close, skin-to-skin contact, with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox. Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox. Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox. Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Lauvao said the U.S government is working with state and local partners to carry out a national strategy to vaccinate and protect people at risk for monkeypox. Currently available Jynneos vaccine, is being targeted to people who have had close contact with others known to havemonkeypox and to people who may have had high-risk exposures, in areas where monkeypox is spreading.

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