Have questions about the monkeypox virus? There’s a phone number for that

People across Washington can now call 1-833-829-HELP for the latest information on monkeypox virus (MPV). This call center is an expansion of the Washiington State Department of Health’s efforts to provide information to Washingtonians. Two weeks ago, the state health department activated its Incident Management Team (IMT) to dedicate their time and efforts to the growing cases of the virus.

Through an ongoing partnership with Washington 211, call takers will answer questions about MPV risk factors, vaccine information, testing and treatment from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m..to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and observed state holidays. In addition to calling 1-833-829-HELP, callers can continue to dial 1-800-525-0127 and press # to be transferred to a Washington 211 specialist. Language assistance is available in 240 languages. Call takers will not be able to schedule vaccine appointments.

“As we navigate the MPV outbreak in Washington state, we cannot underestimate the need for our community members to address their questions and concerns,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “We are pleased to partner with 211 to meet this crucial need.”

According to the health department, the best thing you can do to protect yourself against MPV is to know the risks and take precautions. Anyone who has close contact with a person with an infectious rash can get MPV; it is not exclusive to any community, the department said. MPV can also spread through touching objects, fabrics and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPV, and contact with respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

If you have an unexplained rash, cover it, avoid skin-to-skin contact with others and see a health care provider. They will determine what testing and treatment may be available. If you’ve been exposed to someone with MPV, contact a health provider or your local health jurisdiction to discuss whether you are eligible for vaccination. More information is available on the Washington State Department of Health MPV information page.

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