Atlanta Public Schools (APS) remains focused on ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff in our schools and district buildings. APS will continue to work closely with local and state public health officials to stay abreast of public health guidance regarding monkeypox to develop informed mitigation strategies for our school district.
What You Need to Know About Mpox
Mpox, previously referred to as monkeypox, is a rare infection caused by the mpox virus. It is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but are milder and rarely fatal.
What Are the Symptoms of Mpox?
Most people with mpox will develop a rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, or other parts of the body.
Other symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
How is Mpox Transmitted, and How can You Prevent It?
A person with mpox can spread it to others from the moment their symptoms start until their rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. People who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
What is currently known about mpox transmission indicates that sharing bedding or towels with someone infected with mpox would carry more risk than passing encounters with money, a door handle, or other environmental surfaces.
Most settings where people congregate, such as workplaces, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, or public transportation, are not considered high-risk settings for mpox transmission.
TO PREVENT MPOX, YOU SHOULD
- Avoid direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox.
- Avoid touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces used by someone with mpox.
- Avoid contact with a person with mpox's respiratory secretions (kissing, sharing food utensils).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
If You Are Diagnosed with Mpox, You Should:
- Isolate from other people and animals until a physician, in collaboration with public health, has determined that you are no longer contagious. For this, the rash must fully resolve, scabs must fall off, and a fresh layer of intact skin must form. Full recovery may take 2 - 4 weeks from the symptom's start date.
- These include,
- Not sharing a bedroom with others in your household,
- Not sharing a bathroom or disinfecting the bathroom after each use, and
- Avoid sharing linens and towels in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Used items should be removed from common areas to avoid other household members accidentally touching them. Please see CDC's Mpox Guidance for Household Disinfection to learn how to correctly disinfect your home, including commonly touched areas, linen, and food utensils.
- These include,
- Cover the rash and wear a well-fitted mask if you need to leave isolation before being cleared.
- Notify your close contacts
- For more detailed mpox Home Isolation Guidance, please see: What should I do if I think I might have Mpox?
If You Come in Contact With Someone With Monkeypox, You Should:
- Contact your healthcare provider or local public health district office for additional guidance.
- They may advise you on how to get tested or vaccinated for mpox. You can find the contact information and address for your local health district by clicking this link: Contact information for local public health districts.
- Monitor for symptoms for 21 days after your last day of exposure, including monitoring your temperature twice per day.
- If symptoms develop, you should immediately isolate yourself and contact your doctor or the local health department for more guidance.
- For more detailed information for those exposed to mpox, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/clinicians/monitoring.html
Please reference the following links for additional information regarding the mpox virus:
- For more information about mpox, please visit: https://dph.georgia.gov/monkeypoxand https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html
- For information about mpox Testing or Vaccination, please contact your health care provider or your local Public Health District Office. To find your local public health, please reference https://dph.georgia.gov/document/document/short-district-office-directory-and-map/download
- Dekalb County Board of Health: https://www.dekalbhealth.net/
- Fulton County Board of Health: https://fultoncountyga.gov/monkeypoxoutbreak
- To view the number of U.S. Cases in the 2022 outbreak, including Georgia cases, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html