Monkeypox is typically a self-limiting disease, with symptoms usually resolving on their own within 14-21 days. There are currently no clinically proven or safe treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection specifically. The best way to prevent monkeypox infection may thus be to avoid exposure to the virus.
Step You Can Take to Prevent Monkeypox
There are several measures that you can take to prevent infection or spreading of the monkeypox virus:
- Avoid contact with dead or live animals that could harbor the virus (including their meat, blood, or other body parts).
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as linen, that have been in contact with a sick animal.
- Avoid close contact (including sexual contact) with individuals who are sick or have a rash.
- Avoid sharing utensils or touching the clothing or beddings of a sick person.
- Isolate infected individuals from others who might be at risk for infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
- Mask wearing to help protect against viruses, including monkeypox.
Vaccines to Prevent Monkeypox
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the smallpox vaccine is around 85% effective in preventing the development of monkeypox. Monkeypox patients who had received the smallpox vaccine as a child exhibit milder symptoms. First generation smallpox vaccines are however no longer accessible to the general public.
A new vaccine based on a live, attenuated vaccinia virus JYNNEOSTM (Modified Vaccinia Ankara, MVA-BN) was approved in the U.S and some other countries for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox in 2019. The vaccine contains a modified form of the virus, which does not cause disease in humans and is non-replicating, meaning it cannot reproduce in human cells. This vaccine is also currently not generally available.
In Singapore, the government had clarified that currently “smallpox vaccination is not recommended and not available for purpose of travel” as “(s)ide effects from smallpox vaccination can be serious.” Smallpox vaccination is only available to people who have close contact with a confirmed monkeypox case, as post-exposure treatment to prevent monkeypox infection.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.