A person is considered exposed in the following situations:
- If there is direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- If there is contact with respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or through intimate physical contact (such as kissing or sexual activity)
- Pregnant individuals can spread the virus through the placenta
- If there is contact with objects (such as clothing/linens) that had contact with the infectious rash/body fluids
- If there is contact with infected animals – via scratches/bites or eating meat from infected animals.
Note: per the CDC to date there have not been cases transmitted by blood transfusion, organ transplant, infusion, or transfer of human cells/tissue/tissue products. It is recommended that exposed individuals refrain from donating blood, cells, tissues, breast milk, or semen during their monitoring period.
Though there have not yet been cases transmitted by blood transfusion, needlestick exposures to individuals with active monkeypox infections would need to be evaluated as a possible monkeypox exposure in addition to a blood/body fluid exposure.
Infection Prevention will notify Occupational Health of any patients who are diagnosed with monkeypox where a concern for exposure exists.
Occupational Health then obtains a list of employees with potential exposure, completes a risk assessment for the exposure, and decides if the person needs monitoring and/or post-exposure vaccination.
Of note, the use of proper PPE is highly protective against transmission of monkeypox in healthcare settings. **It is important to wear all appropriate PPE recommended by the patient's isolation status. (see "Employee PPE Infomormation for Monkeypox" link on main OHC Monkeypox information page).
If you are exposed to monkeypox at work, please complete the Tennessee First Report of Illness form online by accessing it from VERITAS (for VUMC – VPN required, if at home) or Origami (for VU). You should keep your receipts for any medical treatment that you receive as a result of this exposure and submit them to Risk Management for possible reimbursement if deemed work-related.
Please note that as long as you are not having symptoms (fever, chills, new skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, muscle/backache, respiratory symptoms such as congestion, cough, or sore throat, headache, or excessive exhaustion (beyond baseline), you may continue to work. Contact Occupational Health at 615-936-0955 immediately if any of these symptoms arise or if you have other questions. You may need to be evaluated or (if no rash has developed) isolate at home for period of time to ensure a rash doesn't develop.