The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC), has released updated guidance to assist emergency medical services (EMS) providers in identifying the signs, symptoms and risk factors for monkeypox.
NETEC’s Identifying Monkeypox: Update for EMS Professionals includes:
- The prevalence of atypical presentations of monkeypox, such as localized rather than whole-body rashes, and the presence of sores even in the absence of typical signs of viral infection such as fever and swollen lymph nodes. These departures from the typical presentation can make monkeypox symptoms resemble those of some sexually transmitted diseases.
- Revised information on the groups at highest risk for contracting monkeypox. These revisions are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) current epidemiological criteria and with the most recent statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO statistics show that the ongoing global outbreak is largely developing within the social networks of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). The guidance notes that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to people who are sexually active or MSM.
For further information, a free replay of a July 12 webcast by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), COVID-19 and Monkeypox Update — Keeping EMS Personnel Safe, is available. This webcast features two experts from Emory University’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) reviewing each step in “identify, isolate, and inform,” highlighting specific actions EMS should take in response to monkeypox based on the most current information available.
The CDC reports that the United States currently has the highest number of confirmed cases in the world at 6,326, with the United Kingdom and some European countries following closely behind. On July 23, WHO released a statement declaring the multi-country monkeypox outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).