Monkeypox vaccine and MS

August 15, 2022
Since the first case was reported in the U.S. on May 18, the threat of monkeypox has escalated several thousands of cases. According to the CDC, as of Aug. 11, there were a total of 10,768 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. As a consequence, getting the vaccine has become an important issue for the MS community.

There are two Monkeypox vaccines: Jynneos and ACAM2000. Jynneos, is a nonreplicating live vaccine and is felt to be safe for all, regardless of immune status. According to Dr. Ben Thrower, MS Focus senior medical advisor, “the ACAM2000 is a repurposed smallpox vaccine. It is a live virus and should not be given to anyone with a potentially compromised immune system. This would include people with MS in B cell therapies, S1P modulators, Mavenclad or Lemtrada.”

While not related to chickenpox, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Symptoms are similar to those of smallpox but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. The virus can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. The virus has also been shown to be able to spread through indirect contact from contaminated objects or materials.

Monkeypox symptoms include a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus and could be on other areas such as hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Monkeypox typically lasts two to four weeks. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flulike symptoms, they will usually develop a rash one to four days later. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

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