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Risk of Monkeypox Transmission Low in Health Care Settings

Last Updated: September 20, 2022.

TUESDAY, Sept. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of transmission of monkeypox is low in health care settings, according to research published in the Sept. 16 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kristen E. Marshall, Ph.D., from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver, and colleagues examined health care personnel (HCP) exposures and personal protective equipment (PPE) use in health care settings during care for patients who subsequently received a diagnosis of Orthopoxvirus infection or monkeypox.

The researchers found that 313 HCP interacted with patients with subsequently diagnosed monkeypox infection while wearing various combinations of PPE during May 1 to July 31, 2022; 23 percent wore all recommended PPE during their exposures (gown, gloves, eye protection, and an N95 or higher-level respirator). Overall, 28 percent of exposed HCP were considered to have had high- or intermediate-risk exposures and were eligible for postexposure prophylaxis with the JYNNEOS vaccine; the vaccine was administered to 48 percent of these individuals (12 percent of all HCP). PPE use varied by facility type; adherence to recommended PPE use was highest in sexually transmitted infection clinics and community health centers, and lowest in primary and urgent care settings. During the 21 days after exposure, none of the HCP developed monkeypox infection.

"These results underscore the importance of public health outreach to better understand the circumstances of HCP exposures so that prevention, infection prevention education, and training of HCP can be improved, especially in primary care and urgent care settings," the authors write.

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