September 19, 2022


Recommendations to Prevent Occupationally-acquired Monkeypox Infection in Healthcare Personnel

Currently, there are more than 61,000 reported cases of monkeypox infection worldwide. Reports of occupationally-acquired monkeypox infection in healthcare personnel (HCP) remain rare in this outbreak, with most reports involving HCP sustaining a sharps injury during specimen collection or not using recommended personal protective equipment (PPE)


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HCP adhere to all recommended infection prevention and control measures including recommended PPE to reduce the risk of monkeypox virus transmission in healthcare settings.


 Infection Prevention and Control

  • Establish a process to screen patients for signs and symptoms of monkeypox at or before arrival so that they can be identified promptly in healthcare facilities (e.g., urgent care clinics, emergency departments, clinics providing evaluation for sexually transmitted infections) that are most likely to provide initial evaluation of patients with monkeypox.
  • Dedicate adequate resources to support infection prevention practices, including access to all recommended PPE, particularly in outpatient settings, where monkeypox patients are frequently initially evaluated.
  • Review infection prevention and control practices including carefully putting on and taking off PPE to ensure HCP are properly trained and provided the opportunity to ask questions and practice their technique. 

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Review cleaning and disinfection practices to ensure they are being completed effectively. Cleaning and disinfecting rooms and equipment between patients is important to prevent transmission to others.

Safe Specimen Collection

  • Use methods to safely collect monkeypox specimens. Unroofing or aspiration of lesions during specimen collection or using sharp instruments for monkeypox lesion testing is not necessary or recommended due to the risk for sharps injury. 

Healthcare Provider Exposures

  • Know the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.
  • Do not report to work if any signs or symptoms develop, even in the absence of recognized exposure.
  • Leave work if signs or symptoms develop while at work, and notify supervisor or other appropriate group (e.g., occupational health services) for further evaluation.
  • Healthcare facilities should provide flexible, non-punitive sick leave policies to allow HCP to take leave when indicated.


Additional Resources


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