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If you follow the news, you’ve probably come across articles and information about monkeypox. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern.” Learn more about  how choosing the right PPE for monkeypox prevention can prevent transmission.

What is monkeypox?

History

Monkeypox is part of the same group of viruses as smallpox. It is not related to chickenpox. In 1958, scientists discovered monkeypox in a population of monkeys living in captivity, which is where the name comes from. The first human case of monkeypox on record is from 1970. Since then, there have been several relatively contained outbreaks around the world, and it has been an endemic virus in Central and West Africa. The current monkeypox outbreak is the largest and fastest international spread on record.

Symptoms

The incubation period for monkeypox (the time period between exposure to the onset of symptoms) can range from 5 to 21 days.

The most distinctive symptom of monkeypox is a rash, usually concentrated on the face and extremities such as hands and feet. However, the rash can emerge on any part of the body, and is also often present on or near the genitals or mouth. Monkeypox lesions look like pimples or blisters and can be very itchy and/or painful. They will eventually scab over and heal. The disease typically lasts for about 2-4 weeks before improving on its own.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, body aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. Some people who contract monkeypox only experience a rash, while others experience multiple symptoms.

Prognosis

Monkeypox is very rarely fatal, but according to the CDC, people with weakened immune systems, children, and people with eczema may be more likely to face serious complications from monkeypox, such as bronchopneumonia, sepsis, or encephalitis.

For more information, see the WHO’s fact sheet on monkeypox.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Contact Transmission

Monkeypox is most often transmitted through direct contact with the rash or through bodily fluids. Close physical contact with infected people is to be avoided at all costs. If you work in the medical industry and treat monkeypox patients, it is highly recommended that you take precautions by wearing proper PPE (outlined below).

Fomite Transmission

When an object such as clothing, bedding, or furniture has come in contact with the virus, it is referred to as a contaminated fomite. Fomites can remain contaminated for up to 24 hours, depending on their environment. Therefore, the bedding and clothing for monkeypox patients should be changed regularly and medical professionals should ensure appropriate isolation is provided in hospital settings.

Respiratory Spread

Spread through aerosolized particles inhaled into the respiratory system is another primary route of transmission for orthopoxvirus. This is because the monkeypox virus often causes lesions in the throat which then spread virus as an aerosol when the person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. Lesions on the body can also be aerosolized and spread by contact or friction – for example, microscopic particles can become airborne from an infected person clapping their hands.

Transmission prevention in medical settings

Patients with suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox should be placed in a room by themselves. Air filtration is not needed as with covid patients, but if the patient is stable and comfortable to do so, it is safest to keep their door closed. If possible, monkeypox patients should each have their own bathroom to avoid fomite spread via surfaces. If it is necessary to transfer the patient to another room, they should don protective gear such as a gown and a face mask.

Any action that could cause particles to become airborne, such as fans, vacuuming, or sweeping should be avoided until the patient is no longer contagious. Additionally, any medical procedures that involve intubation should be performed in an isolation room.

The CDC recommends that hospital staff use disposable plastic tools for specimen collection in place of glass tools, to help prevent fomite transmission in hospital settings.

Choosing PPE for Monkeypox Prevention

Healthcare personnel entering the room of a monkeypox patient should use the following personal protective equipment regularly:

Gloves

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Gowns

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Eye Protection (Goggles or Face Shield)

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Boot Covers

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Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

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Alcohol wipes

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See Best Practices for Removing PPE in 2022 for more details on doffing (taking off) PPE.

Harley NIOSH Surgical N95 Masks

When choosing PPE for monkeypox prevention, be sure to pick NIOSH-approved particulate respirators equipped with N95 filters or higher.

All Harley Surgical N95 Respirators are designed to filter at least 95% of particulate matter and have been tested for blood, smoke, fluid-resistance, and biocompatibility to FDA Surgical Standards. They are extremely durable with a soft and comfortable inner surface. All respirators come with an adjustable nose piece and secured head straps to provide proper fit.

As an official FDA Medical Device Importer, MediDent Supplies is proud to offer an FDA-linked, secure and stable supply chain of these high quality single-wrapped respirators.

MediDent Supplies: Secure, domestic PPE supply

MediDent Supplies is an FDA-registered Medical Device Importer and trusted supplier of medical supplies and PPE nationwide. Strong, collaborative relationships with global manufacturers provide us with access to reliable product sourcing.

Our team of experts has a wealth of experience providing wholesale products to a wide variety of workplaces. Our account managers are industry professionals who have undertaken product training on the ins and outs of our products and current industry insights. Connect with an experienced rep today.

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