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Health professionals should consult the Guidance
for Use of Smallpox Vaccine, Cidofovir, & VIG.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of
the same group of viruses as smallpox virus. The monkeypox virus can spread
from animals to humans and sometimes from one person to another. In humans,
monkeypox causes fever, headache, backache, and swollen lymph nodes, followed
by a blister-like rash. In some cases, monkeypox can cause death.
in the United States
In early June 2003, monkeypox was reported among several people in the
United States who got sick after having contact with sick pet prairie
dogs. This is the first outbreak of human monkeypox in the United States.
and Smallpox Vaccine
Because the monkeypox virus is related to the virus that causes smallpox,
the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox as well
vaccine is effective at protecting people against monkeypox when it
is given before they are exposed to monkeypox. (Exposure includes very
close contact with a person or animal that has monkeypox.)
believe that vaccination after exposure to monkeypox
may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.
Who Should Get Smallpox Vaccine to Prevent Monkeypox
The smallpox vaccine is the best way to prevent monkeypox in someone who
is exposed. For this reason, the following people should get the vaccine:
who are investigating animal or human monkeypox cases (for example,
public health and animal control workers).
workers who are caring for monkeypox patients, may be asked to care
for monkeypox patients, or have been in close contact with monkeypox
patients in the last 4 days. (Vaccination should be considered up to
14 days after exposure.)
who has had close contact with someone who is sick with monkeypox within
the last 4 days. (Vaccination should be considered up to 14 days after
(including veterinarians and veterinary technicians) who has had direct
physical contact within the last four days with an infected animal acquired
since April 15, 2003, in affected areas of the United States. (Vaccination
should be considered up to 14 days after exposure.)
- Lab workers
who handle specimens that may contain monkeypox virus. (More information
for lab workers can be found in the Interim
Biosafety Guidelines for Laboratory Personnel Handling Human and Animal
Specimens for Monkeypox Testing .)
Who Should Not Get Smallpox Vaccine Even After Monkeypox Exposure
with weakened immune systems should not get the smallpox
vaccine, even if they have been exposed to monkeypox. (Cancer treatment,
an organ transplant, HIV infection, Primary Immune Deficiency disorders,
some severe autoimmune disorders, and medications to treat autoimmune
disorders and other illnesses can weaken the immune system.)
with life-threatening allergies to latex or to the smallpox vaccine
or any of its ingredients (polymyxin B, streptomycin, chlortetracycline,
neomycin) should not get the smallpox vaccine.
who has been exposed to monkeypox in the past 14 days should get the smallpox
vaccine, including children under 1 year of age, pregnant women, and people
with skin conditions.