How is monkeypox transmitted and are vaccines available?
Cases of monkeypox (or mpox) have been reported in various parts of the world lately. In early September, Hong Kong also officially confirmed an imported case. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), and our Department of Health (DH) has launched a monkeypox vaccination program for high-risk groups in early October.
How is monkeypox transmitted? What are the symptoms? How long is the incubation period? How high is the risk of dying from the disease? How long will the general population have to wait to get vaccinated? Will your travel insurance cover monkeypox? Don’t worry, because Kwiksure will answer all these questions for you here.
Will your travel/medical insurance cover monkeypox?
The validity period of travel insurance is determined by the travel period specified in your quotation, and the clauses will specify the coverage and limitations.
Sexually transmitted diseases are typically not covered by medical policies. Thus, if the insured is infected through sex, the chances of not getting compensation will be higher. If hospitalization is necessary after infection through other means, eligible medical expenses can usually be recovered from your medical insurance.
Naturally, the most important thing is to read your insurance policy carefully and consult your insurer if necessary.
Read the terms and conditions carefully
When securing health insurance, remember to read the proposal carefully. If the terms confirm that the policy covers infectious diseases, including monkeypox, then you will be covered. On the other hand, if monkeypox is in the list of exclusions, then it will not be covered. It is your responsibility as the policyholder to fully understand the details of the terms before signing on the dotted line.
How monkeypox is transmitted and its symptoms
Monkeypox can be contracted through contact with infected people, animals, or contaminated surfaces, such as:
- Prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets
- Transmission by direct contact (e.g. with a contaminated object)
- Eating infected animals that are not thoroughly cooked
- Getting bitten or scratched by wild animals, such as certain primates, rodents, and squirrels
- Getting infected via sex
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, but are usually milder. The symptoms will last for 14 - 21 days, and will usually go away on their own. Infections can be divided into two phases:
Day of appearance
0 - 5 days after infection
Fever and chills, extreme tiredness, unusual sweating, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain
1 - 3 days after the onset of fever
The rash usually starts on the face and is usually filled with fluid or pus before spreading to the other parts of the body, changing from maculopapular rashes to blisters, pustules, and finally scabs over 10 days to two weeks
Incubation period and mortality rate
The incubation period for monkeypox ranges from 5 to 21 days, but is usually between 6 and 13 days. According to the WHO, the average death rate from monkeypox is 3-6%.
When can I get the vaccine?
People in high-risk groups can be voluntarily vaccinated against monkeypox from October 5, these people include:
- People who have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior, such as people having multiple partners, sex workers, and people who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases in the past twelve months;
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with confirmed monkeypox;
- Laboratory personnel handling zoonotic poxviruses; and
- Animal care workers who are at a higher risk of exposure when monkeypox cases occur in local animals.
The DH will organize six social hygiene clinics to provide vaccination services for those who engage in high-risk sexual behavior, these are:
- Wan Chai Male Social Hygiene Clinic,
- Wan Chai Female Social Hygiene Clinic,
- Yau Ma Tei Male Social Hygiene Clinic,
- Yung Fung Shue Social Hygiene Clinic,
- Fanling Social Hygiene Clinic, and
- Tuen Mun Social Hygiene Clinic.
Vaccination services will also be provided at the Integrated Treatment Center in Kowloon Bay of the DH, and the special medical clinics of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital of the Hospital Authority (HA).
Starting September 26, the HA and the DH have been vaccinating their medical and laboratory staff at high risk of exposure at the staff clinic of the HA and selected clinics of the DH respectively.
For other high-risk target groups (including those who are not visiting the social hygiene clinics of the DH), the DH has set up two designated monkeypox vaccination centers, which are located on 3/F of Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club Specialist Clinic (145 Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei, Monday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm) and 7/F of Tang Chi Ngong Specialist Clinic (284 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, Monday to Friday, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm, except public holidays).
People in high-risk target groups can make an appointment for monkeypox vaccination via email (email@example.com) or telephone (2547 1900).
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