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On August 4, 2022, monkeypox was declared a national public health emergency. On September 30, 2022, a PREP Act declaration was signed to allow pharmacists to order monkeypox vaccines and pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists to administer them. TPA is dedicated to providing members with up-to-date information, as we learn more about the disease. Use the resources below to better inform yourself and your practice about monkeypox.
Last updated on October 5, 2022
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family as the variola virus that causes smallpox (not related to chickenpox). Monkeypox is a disease originally transmitted from animals to humans (zoonosis); it is transmitted by human or animal contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces (mouth or throat), respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects. Monkeypox is a rare disease, but symptoms are like smallpox, except milder and rarely fatal. Symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fatigue, and presence of characteristic lesions. Monkeypox is typically a self-limiting disease lasting 2-4 weeks.
- TDH: Monkeypox Response Epidemiologic Report – updated 9/30/2022
To reach the epidemiologic report, click the link above and navigate to the “Case Data/Reports” tab.
- CDC: General monkeypox information
- CDC: How to Protect Yourself
- CDC: Monkeypox cases/tracking– updated 10/3/2022
- WHO: Overview, symptoms and treatment
- WHO: Fact sheet for monkeypox
- WHO: Monkeypox questions and answers– updated 8/31/2022
Monkeypox Vaccine Information
Monkeypox vaccines administered before exposure are effective at protecting people against monkeypox. Currently, there are two vaccines authorized for emergency use: ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS. Vaccines are being distributed to Tennessee in low quantities and are allocated for residents who meet CDC’s eligibility criteria, which prioritizes those most at risk of exposure to monkeypox. If a patient tells you they’ve potentially been exposed to monkeypox, contact your local health department. Information on vaccines and other preventive measures are still in development and may change.
- CDC: Monkeypox intradermal administration instructional video
- CDC: Fact sheet on intradermal administration of monkeypox vaccine
- TDH: Vaccine quick reference guide for healthcare providers
- JYNNEOS: Quick Storage and Handling Guide
- CDC: JYNNEOS Vaccine Information
- CDC: Vaccine Guidance
Monkeypox Treatment Options
Treatment of monkeypox patients is supportive and dependent on symptoms. Many people infected with monkeypox have a mild, self-limiting disease course in the absence of specific therapy. Patients to be considered for treatment include:
- People with a severe disease
- People who may be at high risk of a severe disease
- People who are immunocompromised
- Pediatric populations (younger than 8 years old)
- People with a history or presence of atopic dermatitis and other active exfoliative skin conditions
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- People with one or more complications
- People with monkeypox virus aberrant infections that include eyes, mouth, or other anatomical areas where monkeypox virus infection might constitute a special hazard
Currently, there is no treatment approved specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, there are countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), as options for the treatment of monkeypox:
- Tecovirimat (TPOXX, ST-246)
- Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (VIGIV)
- Cidofovir (Vistide)
- Brincidofovir (CMX001, Tembexa)
Pharmacist’s Role in Treatment and Prevention of Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a growing concern and is now declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Although pharmacists are not currently able to administer vaccines for monkeypox, we may have authorization to provide vaccines in the future. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have delivered important public health services, such as spreading awareness, educating patients, and administering vaccines on a national scale. We can do the same for monkeypox, to prevent further outbreaks and promote community health.