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Advice if you have been diagnosed with monkeypox
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What should you do if you are infected with monkeypox?
If you have been diagnosed with monkeypox, you should isolate yourself while you are contagious to prevent further transmission. Your doctor will assess whether you should isolate at home or in a hospital. If you live with people who are at particular risk of a severe disease course, such as young children (under 6 years), pregnant women, frail elderly people and people with weakened immune systems, consider isolation in another suitable place, in consultation with your doctor.
If you will isolate in your own home, you should:
avoid close contact with other people and animals
avoid sexual activity and kissing
stay and sleep in a separate room
use your own bathroom if possible (if not, you should clean the bathroom after use as described below)
be careful with hand hygiene. Always wash hands with soap and water (or hand disinfectants) after contact with blisters or body fluids, or after contact with clothing, towels and bed linen or surfaces that may be contaminated by blisters or body fluids.
get help with shopping if you live alone
get food / drink served if you live with others. It is not necessary to use separate serving utensils if they are washed in the dishwasher (preferably), or by hand with hot water and dishwashing detergent after use.
cover the sofa / chairs that you will use with a washable sheet or similar
use a separate towel and other toiletries
handle and wash all dirty laundry yourself. Bed linen, towels and other textiles should be washed at a minimum of 60 °C
discard waste from, for example, cleaning sores in a garbage bag that is tied securely and placed inside another bag. This can be disposed of with normal waste.
You can go out but keep a physical distance from others. If you must seek medical attention, use a face mask and cover the rash. You should avoid public transport.
There is some risk of animals being infected with monkeypox if they are in close contact with people who are infected. You should therefore avoid close contact with pets. If contact is unavoidable, your pet should be kept away from other animals that are not in your household. If you think that your pet has monkeypox, contact a veterinarian to inform of your suspicion or notify the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. More information and contact details can be found on their website mattilsynet.no.
Follow-up from the health service
The health service will keep in touch with you according to their monkeypox routines. Follow the advice you are given. It is important that your close contacts are notified for contact tracing and follow-up. The health service will perform contact tracing without disclosing your name to your contacts.
Most people do not need any treatment beyond symptom relief, such as antipyretics to control fever, or pain relief. A severe disease course is rare and may require admission to hospital.
Deterioration of symptoms
Some people may experience pain, especially on the mucous membranes of the throat and rectum. Seek medical attention if your condition is getting worse (call the out-of-hours medical service, telephone 116 117, or call 113 if you need emergency help). Tell them you have monkeypox when you call, so they can take steps to prevent others from becoming infected.
Duration of isolation and precautions after recovery
You are no longer contagious once the rash has dried out, the scabs have fallen off and intact skin has formed underneath. Isolation can then end. The disease course normally lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
- you should clean the rooms you have stayed in yourself. Use standard household detergents for cleaning and disinfection according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- wash bed linen, towels and clothes in a washing machine at a minimum of 60 °C and with normal detergent. Dirty laundry should not be shaken, but carefully gathered before washing.
- take a shower and change into clean clothes before making contact with others after isolation. Use clean towels after showering.
- use a condom. The virus can be detected in semen for several weeks after isolation. It is therefore important to use a condom for 8 weeks after the end of isolation.
You must not donate blood, cells, tissues, breast milk, semen or organs while you are contagious and for a certain period after isolation.
How is monkeypox transmitted?
Monkeypox is caused by a virus (monkeypox virus) and causes disease with fever and rash. The disease is known to be transmitted from animals to humans in some African countries. In the current outbreak (discovered in May 2022), we see transmission between people via close contact with blisters, body fluids and droplets. Sexual contact with an infected person involves an increased risk of becoming infected and is the most common mode of transmission in the ongoing outbreak, which so far has mainly affected men. Kissing can also pose a transmission risk. For droplet transmission to occur, close contact over a longer period of time (hours) is usually required.
How long can you be infected before developing symptoms?
The time from infection until symptoms appear is 5-21 days (usually 6-13 days).
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
The first symptoms are usually fever, fatigue and headache. Muscle aches and stiffness are common. Some people may develop swollen lymph nodes, with an itchy and / or painful rash developing at the same time or after a few days. The rash develops into blisters, which crust over to form scabs that eventually fall off. Scarring can occur.
In the ongoing outbreak (discovered in May 2022), for many the rash began around the genitals and in the buttock and rectal region. The rash can also begin on the face or in the mouth and can spread to the rest of the body and may then resemble chickenpox. Some also have rashes in the palms and soles of the feet. The rash can also be sparse, with just a few small blisters or sores, and may resemble herpes.
The disease course normally lasts 2 to 4 weeks. You are contagious from the start of symptoms until the scabs fall off and new skin has formed underneath (approximately 3 weeks).
There is a vaccine against smallpox that can provide protection against monkeypox. This is now approved in Europe for use against monkeypox. For the time being, we recommend this vaccine for preventive use only after an exposure to monkeypox (Post-exposure vaccination) to prevent disease or reduce its severity.
Do you suspect you may be infected?
Are you living in Norway and suspect that you might be infected? Call your doctor to arrange an appointment. Are you a tourist in Norway? Call the out-of-hours medical service on 116 117. Staying in Oslo? Call +47 21 80 21 82 (Koronatelefonen). Testing for monkeypox is free of charge.