Listen for Questions About Monkeypox

You’ll hear questions about monkeypox...as this outbreak continues to evolve.

Monkeypox is caused by a virus in the smallpox family.

Symptoms include a pimple-like or blistery rash that scabs...often near the anus or genitals, arms, legs, or face.

The rash may be painful...and can look like herpes or shingles. But monkeypox bumps are bigger and usually have a dent in the centre.

Patients may also have fever, sore throat, or fatigue.

Contagiousness is much LESS of a concern than with COVID-19.

Monkeypox spreads by directly touching the rash, scabs, or items with lesion secretions (bedding, etc)...or through respiratory secretions during close, sustained face-to-face contact.

People with monkeypox should cover lesions...isolate until the rash fully heals and new skin forms...and wear a mask if around others.

But infection isn’t likely from doorknobs, public toilets, or sitting near someone.

Most cases are currently in men who have sex with men...especially with multiple partners. But monkeypox can affect anyone.

Monkeypox is rare...and death from the circulating strain is even more rare.

For now, patients with possible exposure or symptoms should contact their prescriber for testing, vaccination, or treatment.

Vaccination with Imvamune is used for preventing disease AFTER an exposure...ideally within 4 days, or up to 14.

But some high-risk patients (sexually active men who have sex with men, etc) may get Imvamune BEFORE an exposure.

Medication used for smallpox, oral TPOXX (tecovirimat), may be prescribed for certain patients with monkeypox...such as those who are immunocompromised or have monkeypox lesions near the anus or genitals.

But for now, don’t expect to dispense meds or vaccines for monkeypox...these come from the provincial health department.

Stay alert for questions about other meds or supplements...there’s no evidence yet that any treat or prevent monkeypox.

Monkeypox Lesions
These photos depict the life cycle of lesions brought on by the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox Lesions

 

Photo Credit: UK Health Security Agency
Source:  https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/diseases-and-conditions/monkeypox/index.html

 


Key References

  • https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2022/08/statement-from-the-chief-public-health-officer-of-canada-on-august-12-2022.html (8-30-22)
  • https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/canada-communicable-disease-report-ccdr/monthly-issue/2022-48/issue-7-8-july-august-2022/summary-national-advisory-committee-immunization-naci-rapid-response-interim-guidance-imvamune-monkeypox-outbreaks-canada.html (8-30-22)
  • https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/emb/docs/Monkeypox_Imvamune_Guidance_HCP.pdf (8-30-22)
  • JAMA. 2022 Aug 11. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.14857
Pharmacy Technician's Letter Canada. September 2022, No. 380902



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