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Monkeypox Prevention and Workplace Safety

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In light of the recent declaration of a State of Emergency regarding Monkeypox cases in California, Bizhaven interviewed Joel Hockman, COO and Owner of Pucci’s Pharmacy in Sacramento. Pucci’s Pharmacy has been supporting the Sacramento community by keeping their patron’s informed and providing vaccines to help prevent the spread of Monkeypox in the community.

We asked Joel for more information on how employers can keep their employees and businesses safe, and what they should know regarding Monkeypox and the available vaccine.

What is monkeypox virus?

According to the CDC, “Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.”

Is monkeypox virus contagious?

Monkeypox is contagious. Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact.

However, this is not a Sexually Transmitted Infection which is important for the community to understand. This can and will impact the entire community in time. We are hopeful that more widespread vaccine availability will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Monkeypox symptoms in persons

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

 

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

 

You may experience all or only a few symptoms:

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.

Is the smallpox virus vaccine effective for monkeypox?

Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

There is no specific monkeypox vaccine at the time of this blog’s publication. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections. Talk to your health care provider to find out if the vaccine is right for you.

What are the recommended groups for vaccination?

The Sacramento Department of Public Health deploys the guidance related to order of priority for vaccine administration. We recommend checking their website for updates.

Current guidelines are  men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or transgender individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:

•    have tested positive for an STI in the past two months

•.   had 2+ sexual partners in the last 3 weeks

•    attended or worked at a commercial sex venue in the last 3 weeks

•    had anonymous sex in past 3 weeks

•    engaged in transactional sex (sex work) in the past 3 weeks

 

How/when can people in the Sacramento area get vaccinated?

Pucci’s Pharmacy is offering vaccinations based on allocation from the Sacramento Department of Public Health. Visit their website for more details. https://www.puccirx.com/monkeypox-info

How to prevent monkeypox and protect your health

There are several things that can be done to prevent the spread here are the top 3. For a comprehensive report on prevention visit the CDC’s website https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention.html

  • Avoid close skin-to-skin contact
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that have been in contact with a known infected person
  • Wash your hands often

What measures can housekeeping and rental management companies take if a guest has monkeypox? How should they sanitize or clean after a guest notifies them that they have monkeypox?

We recommend reviewing the CDC website section on Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings to develop a policy appropriately specific to the environment for the most up-to-date information..https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/specific-settings/home-disinfection.html

 

However, please see some highlights below, as of the publishing of this article.

Cleaning and Disinfection

During isolation at home, people with monkeypox should clean and disinfect the spaces they occupy regularly to limit household contamination.

  • ISOLATING ALONE IN HOME: People with monkeypox who are isolating alone at home should regularly clean and disinfect the spaces they occupy, including commonly touched surfaces and items, to limit household contamination. Perform hand hygiene afterwards using an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) that contains at least 60% alcohol, or soap and water if ABHR is unavailable.
  • ISOLATING WITH OTHERS IN HOME: People with monkeypox who are isolating in a home with others who don’t have monkeypox should follow the isolation and infection control guidance, and any shared spaces, appliances, or items should be disinfected immediately following use.

 

People who have recovered from monkeypox and whose isolation period has ended should conduct a thorough disinfection of all the spaces within the home that they had been in contact with. Follow the steps below to minimize risk of infection to others in your home after recovery.

  • If cleaning and disinfection is done by someone other than the person with monkeypox, that person should wear, at a minimum, disposable medical gloves and a respirator or well-fitting mask.
  • Standard clothing that fully covers the skin should be worn, and then immediately laundered according to recommendations below.
  • Hand hygiene should be performed using an ABHR, or soap and water if ABHR is unavailable.
  • Focus on disinfecting items and surfaces that were in direct contact with the skin of the person with monkeypox, or often in the presence of the person with monkeypox, during isolation. If unsure, disinfect.
  • Do not dry dust or sweep as this may spread infectious particles.
  • Wet cleaning methods are preferred such as disinfectant wipes, sprays, and mopping.
  • Vacuuming is acceptable using a vacuum with a high-efficiency air filter. If not available, ensure the person vacuuming wears a well-fitting mask or respirator.
  • Clean and disinfect household in the following order:
    1. General waste containment
      • Collect and contain in a sealed bag any soiled waste such as bandages, paper towels, food packaging, and other general trash items.
    2. Laundry
      • Gather contaminated clothing and linens before anything else in the room is cleaned. Do not shake the linens as this could spread infectious particles.
  • Hard surfaces and household items
  • Upholstered furniture and other soft furnishing
  • Carpet and flooring
  • Waste disposal

Laundry

Used or contaminated clothing, linens and bedding materials, towels, and other fabric items should be contained until laundering. When at all possible, people with monkeypox should handle and launder their own soiled laundry. Laundry should not be mixed with that of other members of the household.

Follow these laundering procedures:

  • Handle soiled laundry according to standard practices, avoiding contact with contaminants from the rash that may be present on the laundry.
  • Soiled laundry should never be shaken or handled in a manner that may spread infectious particles.
  • In-home laundry facilities:
    • Transfer soiled laundry items to be laundered in an impermeable container or bag that can be disinfected afterwards. Alternatively, a fabric bag may be used that can also be laundered along with the soiled items.
    • Wash laundry in a standard washing machine with detergent, following label instructions. Laundry sanitizers may be used but are not necessary.
  • In-home laundry facilities not available:
    • When in-home laundry facilities (facilities not shared with other households) are not available, individuals should coordinate with their local public health department to determine appropriate laundering options.

 

Hard Surfaces (and non-porous car interiors)

Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items (such as counters or light switches) using an EPA-registered disinfectant in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • This includes surfaces like tables, countertops, door handles, toilet flush handles, faucets, light switches, and floors.
  • Include interior surfaces of refrigerator, freezer, other appliances, interior cabinet spaces, or drawers if they have been accessed by the person with monkeypox.
  • Items and surfaces within the home that have likely not been in contact with the person while sick with monkeypox do not need to be disinfected.
    • This includes clothing and items in drawers or boxes that have not been in contact with, or in the direct presence of the person with monkeypox.
  • Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils in a dishwasher with detergent and hot water or by hand with hot water and dish soap.

Waste Disposal

Generally, management of waste from homes, including those of people with monkeypox isolating at home, should continue as normal. Municipal waste management systems routinely collect and dispose of waste materials from individuals with infectious diseases and can do so safely using existing procedures.

  • The person with monkeypox should use a dedicated, lined trash can in the room where they are isolating.
  • Any gloves, bandages, or other waste and disposable items that have been in direct contact with skin should be placed in a sealed plastic bag, then thrown away in the dedicated trash can.
  • The person with monkeypox or other household members should use gloves when removing garbage bags and handling and disposing of trash.
  • If professional cleaning services are used, treat and/or dispose of waste in accordance with applicable state, local, tribal, and territorial laws and regulations for waste management. For more information, the Department of Transportation has monkeypox-specific information in Appendix F-2 of the federal interagency guidance for managing solid waste contaminated with a Category A infectious substance.

Upholstered Furniture, Carpet and Soft Furnishing (and porous car interiors):

  • If the person with monkeypox had direct skin contact and/or excessive drainage of fluids from rashes onto soft furnishings, such as upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, and mattresses, steam cleaning can be considered.
    • Discuss with state or local health authorities for further guidance.
  • If the person with monkeypox had minimal contact with soft furnishings, disinfect the surface with a surface-appropriate disinfectant.

Anything else we may need to know?

This is not a Sexually Transmitted Infection which is important for the community to understand. This can and will impact the entire community in time. We are hopeful that more widespread vaccine availability will be distributed in the coming weeks.

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