Up to three weeks of quarantine after contact with monkeypox patients

The GGD is asking people who have had contact with or have been near someone who tested positive for the monkeypox virus to quarantine for up to three weeks. This is a precautionary measure, emphasized a spokesperson for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), because much is still unclear about the virus.

Housemates, sexual contacts or other close contacts of someone who has been diagnosed with the virus are requested to stay at home. The quarantine advice also applies to people who have been less than one and a half meters away from a patient for more than 15 minutes without protective clothing, according to the RIVM spokesperson.

After contact with a monkeypox patient, it can take five to 21 days for someone to develop symptoms. The GGD keeps in touch with people who therefore have to stay at home as a precaution. They are asked to take their temperature every day and to stay alert for symptoms.

The monkeypox virus is characterized by blisters on the skin. Before those blisters appear, people can experience fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and headaches, among other things. How likely it is to be infected after contact with a patient who has not yet developed symptoms, remains to be seen. “It is still too early to say that,” said the RIVM spokesperson.

The quarantine advice has been passed on to the GGDs, but is not yet explained on the RIVM website. According to the spokesperson, the advice can still change. 

It is also unclear whether –– as was the case with coronavirus –– the quarantine time could be shortened if after a few days a test shows that someone does not have the virus. “It is still being investigated after how many days you could possibly test.” The monkeypox virus now has a reporting obligation, which means that doctors who have established or suspect infection with the virus must report this.

Two cases of monkeypox have currently been identified in the Netherlands. According to the RIVM spokesperson, where these people contracted the virus is still being investigated.

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