WHO monkeypox declaration and status of the disease in Maine
Dear InterMed patients,
The World Health Organization on Friday declared the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. In light of this development, I wanted to provide information about the disease in Maine.
In the United States, the risk of monkeypox is currently considered low. As of Friday, Maine had one confirmed case. Monkeypox, which is caused by a virus that is related to the smallpox virus, can be extremely painful and disfiguring. It is rarely fatal.
InterMed does not have a supply of monkeypox vaccine. Maine has received a limited number of doses that are distributed by the federal government. They are available through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to individuals who are close contacts of confirmed cases, at risk of transmitting the virus or at risk of severe illness.
The virus can be spread through direct contact with an infected person’s rashes, sores and body fluids; intimate physical contact such as sex; and through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact. Transmission can also take place by touching contaminated items like clothing and towels.
Contact your doctor if you believe you have been exposed or if you have symptoms:
- One or more lesions, or a rash, that look like pimples or blisters. They may be on the face and other parts of the body, including feet, chest and genitals, and inside the body, including the mouth, vagina or anus.
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Some people may not experience these symptoms.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s monkeypox webpage is a trove of useful information ranging from rash photos to the state of the outbreak to sexual health. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section.
Thank you for entrusting us with your care. Please know that InterMed clinicians closely track developments around the spread of infectious diseases such as monkeypox and work in partnership with public health officials and health organization colleagues on the response.
Stay safe and well.
Dan Loiselle, MD, Chief Medical Officer, and the entire InterMed Care Team