Monkeypox Resources for EMS

Monkeypox cases are increasing rapidly among Georgia residents, particularly in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It is important for EMS personnel to recognize the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for monkeypox; understand EMS strategies for preventing the spread of monkeypox; and know how to prevent person-to-person transmission of monkeypox. Download this pdf file. Please review this letter from Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH Commissioner and State Health Officer, and review the information below.

 

EMS Strategies for Preventing the Spread of Monkeypox

Monkeypox spreads in different ways:

  • Prolonged direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • Touching items (such as clothing, linens or other objects) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.

When standard infection prevention activities are performed, including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), the risk of exposure to monkeypox virus in a clinical setting is extremely low.

Isolation of the patient is important to prevent the transmission of the illness. During the treatment and transport of the patient, a hierarchy of controls should be implemented, including the following:

  • Separate the driver compartment from the patient compartment, if possible.
  • Turn the exhaust fan on high in the patient compartment (if so equipped) and adjust air handling to introduce fresh air in both compartments if possible.
  • PPE should include gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a mask.
  • Limit the number of personnel making patient contact.
  • Exercise caution when performing aerosol-producing procedures (e.g., endotracheal intubation, airway suctioning, CPAP/BiPAP, CPR). Only perform these procedures if medically necessary and cannot be postponed.
  • Notify the receiving facility early of any potential or suspected monkeypox case. Upon arrival at the receiving facility, notify the receiving staff.
    • When a patient is suspected of having monkeypox or has a rash consistent with monkeypox, they should be placed in a single-person room. Special air handling is not required.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces of the ambulance and equipment with an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant. Look for disinfectants with a label claim against vaccinia.

Patients can continue to be managed safely if the appropriate infection prevention measures are in place.

Additional information for EMS personnel can be found at https://netec.org/2022/05/19/ems-response-to-the-current-outbreak-of-monkeypox/.

EMS Documentation of Potential Monkeypox Cases

In addition to standard documentation practices, EMS personnel should ensure that the Infectious Disease National Custom Elements are documented on all patients suspected of having monkeypox or other infectious diseases. More information on these custom elements is available here: https://nemsis.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Infectious-Disease-National-Custom-Elements-4_02.01.2021.pdf

Information on Monkeypox

Guidance, information for providers, and CDC resources.