Monkeypox Information

Monkeypox Overview

CDC is closely tracking cases of monkeypox recently detected in the United States. As part of this 2022 U.S. Monkeypox Outbreak, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) identified its first case of monkeypox in a Louisiana resident on July 7, 2022. 

There are likely more undiagnosed human cases of monkeypox in Louisiana than have been formally tested and identified to date. LDH will continue to keep this webpage updated with the latest case count, guidance and resources for the public and providers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is monkeypox?

    Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a possibly painful rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with chickenpox.

    Most people with monkeypox recover in 2-4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for immunocompromised people, children and pregnant people.

    To date, there have been zero confirmed deaths resulting from monkeypox in this recent U.S. outbreak.

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    How is monkeypox spread?

    Monkeypox spreads in different ways. Monkeypox virus is most often spread from one person to another, through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus.

    It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other shared items used by a person with monkeypox; or via respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact including kissing, cuddling or sex.

    People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

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    What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

    You may experience all or only a few of the symptoms of monkeypox. Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
    • 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

    Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Some cases in the current U.S. outbreak have experienced only isolated rashes in the genital region or other body parts (e.g., hands, chest, face, in the mouth). Lesions are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy (crusts). 

    Symptoms usually start within two weeks of exposure to the virus but can start up to three weeks later. Within 1-3 days of symptoms beginning, people usually develop a rash or sores.

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    What do I do if I have symptoms?

    Contact your healthcare provider immediately and avoid sex or other close, intimate contact until you have been checked out.

    Testing for monkeypox is now widely available through reference laboratories in addition to the state public laboratory. If you have symptoms and would like to be tested for monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. Anyone without a provider or insurance can also be tested at their local parish health unit or community clinic: ldh.la.gov/phu

    Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact.

    Talk to your partners about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including rashes on the genitals and anus.

    People with new rashes should also be aware that the rate of syphilis is rising in Louisiana and nationally.

    If your test for monkeypox is positive, stay isolated until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.

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    Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

    Yes. JYNNEOS is the name of the FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine - it is two doses, administered 28 days apart. Full protection begins two weeks after the second shot. The monkeypox vaccine is FDA approved and available at no cost to the individual. 

    Given how little vaccine we have received, our top priority for vaccination remains people with known exposures to monkeypox patients. There are two groups currently eligible for monkeypox vaccine: (1) individuals with known exposures as well as (2) individuals with likely high-risk exposures in the last 14 days. 

    Known exposures are identified via contact tracing. The second group was determined based on best practices identified in other jurisdictions as well as limited data collected regarding Louisiana's monkeypox cases to date.

    Specifically, this second group includes: Gay, bisexual, other (cis or trans) men who have sex with men OR Transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men and

    • Have had intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners in last 14 days OR
    • Have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual venue in the last 14 days

    OR Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have given or received money or other goods/services in exchange for sex in the last 14 days

    It is a high priority to provide vaccine pre-exposure to at-risk individuals; we are actively advocating CDC for sufficient allocations to be able to do so.

    Important note: Anyone can contract monkeypox and the current eligibility criteria are only limited to the above groups because they are most at risk based on the first diagnoses we have seen. However, the criteria will be expanded as additional vaccine becomes available and/or individuals from other groups are diagnosed. 

    Here is a list of all locations in Louisiana that have received monkeypox vaccine. We recommend you call ahead.

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