What IBD patients need to know about the monkeypox virus

With the increasing number of cases of monkeypox across the country, we know you may have questions about the virus and vaccination recommendations for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We encourage you to stay informed, practice good prevention strategies, and have open communication with your doctor to ensure you have the right guidance for your individual needs. Below we’ve outlined the most important information to keep in mind regarding the monkeypox virus.

 

Are IBD patients at-risk for developing monkeypox?

People at-risk for developing monkeypox include any person who has travelled to a location where there have been known cases, or healthcare workers who may be exposed to people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox. People with IBD are not at increased risk of developing this virus.
The CDC offers tips for prevention of monkeypox, including:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash. 
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

For information about prevention: 
Prevention | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC
 

Is it recommended for IBD patients to receive the monkeypox vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that monkeypox vaccines be considered only for people with a known exposure, or at high risk (such as healthcare workers, lab workers, etc.). For IBD patients, this same recommendation applies, where patients who have a known exposure, or at high risk as defined above, may be recommended to receive a vaccine. It is important to discuss your vaccination needs with your doctor and healthcare team thoroughly, so they can make recommendations on your best option. Read below for information about the available monkeypox vaccines and guidance for IBD patients.

  • ACAM2000 vaccine
    This is a live vaccine that replicates in the body and should not be given to IBD patients who are immunocompromised. Talk to your doctor about your specific health situation, medications, and immunization needs.
     
  • JYNNEOS vaccine
    This vaccine is live and does not replicate. It is given in two doses, four weeks apart and is safe for patients with IBD who are immunocompromised. The risks and benefits of this vaccine should be individually weighed in consultation with your gastroenterologist.

For more information about vaccines:
https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/considerations-for-monkeypox-vaccination.html 
Considerations for Monkeypox Vaccination | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC
 

How do I stay informed about the level of risk in my area?

As data expands and situations change with the monkeypox virus, the best step you can take is to stay safe and keep up-to-date about the latest public health information from your state health department. You can also get general information and updates about monkeypox from the CDC.

 

 

Update: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a safety alert regarding the use of fecal microbial transplant, and increased precautions to screen donations for infection, including monkeypox. If you are using FMT treatment, talk to your doctor to learn about any additional safety measures they are taking. 

 

Last updated, 8/30/22