Advice on infection control measures for sex on premises settings
This article contains advice on cleaning routines and waste management to reduce the risk of transmission for mpox.
The virus is transmitted through contact with rashes, blisters and body fluids from someone who is infected, and can survive on objects and surfaces for a longer period of time and therefore be transmitted via indirect contact. Frequent and thorough cleaning, and safe waste management is essential to reduce the risk of transmission of mpox in venues for sex on premises and other intimate contact.
Staff who perform cleaning and waste disposal should wear protective equipment, i.e., a face mask, disposable gloves and a disposable apron.
Hands should be cleaned after cleaning / waste disposal, even if wearing gloves.
Dirty or damp hands should be cleaned with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand disinfectants.
Existing cleaning protocols for venues should be enhanced with additional measures:
- Specialist cleaning is not required. Use standard products (non-organic) for cleaning and disinfection according to the manufacturer's instructions. Disposable wipes should be used. When using household chlorine for disinfection, mix the desired amount to a concentration of 5%.
- In addition to routine cleaning, areas should be frequently cleaned if they are soiled with semen, faeces, blood, urine or lubricant.
- Spot cleaning should be undertaken at least once every hour (or more frequently if necessary during busy periods). Areas that need frequent cleaning include all surfaces that may be in contact with human skin, such as benches, chairs, walls, beds and sofas.
- All textiles (towels, sheets, etc.) that have been in contact with skin, or that have been contaminated with biological material, should be washed at a minimum of 60 ⁰C. Avoid shaking used textiles before washing.
- All waste (paper towels, condoms, etc.) should be double-bagged, and otherwise handled according to standard waste management.
- Hand washing facilities or alcohol-based hand disinfectants should be readily available.
How is mpox transmitted?
Mpox is caused by a 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 mpox?
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 mpox. This is now approved in Europe for use against mpox. For the time being, we recommend this vaccine for preventive use only after an exposure to mpox (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 mpox is free of charge.