DRegional Efforts to Educate on Risk Factors of Monkeypox

Bay City, Michigan, August 9, 2022 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has been tracking cases of monkeypox that have been reported in countries where the disease is not endemic including the United States, since May 2022. The WHO and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency.

Great Lakes Bay Pride has assembled a regional task force to share educational resources and updates about the monkeypox outbreak and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccination strategy currently being deployed in the state.

The Regional Monkeypox Task Force partners include: Great Lakes Bay Pride, Bay County Health Department, Midland County Department of Public Health, Saginaw County Health Department, Central Michigan District Health Department, and the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA).

Monkeypox (MPV) is a rare disease and, while many people affected in the current global outbreaks identify as men who have sex with men, monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox
  • Contact with respiratory secretions, through kissing and other face-to-face contact

This contact can happen in certain social and sexual situations including:

  • Hugging, massage, and kissing
  • Oral, anal, or vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) of a person with monkeypox
  • Touching fabrics and objects that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as utensils, cups, bedding, towels, clothing, and sex toys

Monkeypox is NOT considered a sexually-transmitted infection, but can spread during intimate physical contact between people.

“Monkeypox is disproportionately impacting our LGBTQ+ community, specifically those who identify as men who have sex with men. Our goal is to get information and resources in the hands of our community members at highest risk for this illness and do whatever we can to prevent it,” said Scott Ellis, Executive Director of Great Lakes Bay Pride.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
  • The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
  • Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after infection.

The CDC is urging health care providers in the United States to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with MPV, regardless of whether they have traveled, have specific risk factors for MPV and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Anyone who may have been exposed to monkeypox or is experiencing symptoms associated with monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider or local Health Department for more information.

Bay County Health Department, 989-895-4009; Ext 1 

Central Michigan District Health Department, Find your nearest branch office at www.CMDHD.org/locations 

Midland County Department of Public Health, 989-832-6380 or MCDPH@co.midland.mi.us

Saginaw County Health Department, 989-758-3828

Great Lakes Bay Pride: info@greatlakesbaypride.org, (989) 203-2474

Additional information, including additional FAQ about Monkeypox can be found on the Saginaw County Health Department website here.