Updates over Monkeypox – Frequently asked questions
1) What is Monkeypox and what are the most common symptoms?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus. The possible symptoms (even though they are not always present) include: fever, headache, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, tiredness. A few days after the fever, a skin rash with blisters appears. The blisters will eventually dry up and form a crust. The rash usually starts on the face and then spreads to the whole body.
2) When should I contact my GP or the sexual health clinic about specific symptoms?
- If you have blisters on your body, especially if the first blisters formed are located in the area around your anus, genitals or face;
- If you have had any contact (including sexual contact) with someone who has monkeypox within the past three weeks;
- If young children develop these symptoms, it almost always indicates a chickenpox infection. Therefore, there is no need for you to contact your GP unless you were in Central or West Africa in the past three weeks, or had direct contact with someone who has monkeypox within the past three weeks.
3) Is there any treatment or medicine for monkeypox?
There is a registered medicine authorised for treating monkeypox in patients admitted to the hospital with severe symptoms, however, it is not yet available in the Netherlands. The smallpox vaccine can also be used for monkeypox, both in the first few days after possible exposure to the monkeypox virus (post-exposure prophylaxis), and also preventively to protect people who have a higher risk of infection (currently, only laboratory workers working in high-risk laboratories with the monkeypox virus are vaccinated preventively). *We currently DO NOT administer monkeypox (smallpox) vaccinations at the International Health Centre.
More information about Monkeypox can be found on the RIVM website: https://www.rivm.nl/en/monkeypox