About Monkeypox

Monkeypox is currently of public health concern because while occasional cases have occurred in the past, especially from travel to endemic areas, its emergence in non-endemic areas is new.
Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually far less severe than smallpox.

There is a recent significant increase in cases where monkeypox is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States, and California. While it's important to stay alert on any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low. 

Important Announcements

The monkeypox vaccine (Jynneos) is now available for students at Student Health

  • People who are known contacts to someone with monkeypox who are identified by public health authorities, for example via case investigation, contact tracing, or risk exposure assessment
  • People who are aware that a recent sex partner within the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • People who attended an event or venue where there was known monkeypox exposure
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men (including cisgender and transgender men) who have sex with men (MSM) or transgender women who meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • Sex with multiple partners (or group sex); or recent sex with anonymous male partners; or sex at a commercial sex venue; or sex in association with an event, venue, or defined geographic area where monkeypox transmission is occurring
    • Have been diagnosed with a bacterial sexually transmitted disease (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 12 months,
    • Have engaged in chemsex (using drugs as part of sex life),
    • Have attended sex-on-premises venues (e.g., saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs),
    • Use or are recommended to use HIV PrEP,
    • Are living with HIV

If the above applies to you and you would like to get the vaccine, please login to the patient portal and go to "Appointments" to schedule the monkeypox vaccine.

Patient Portal

Symptoms

Often, people with monkeypox will develop a rash or sores on or near the genitals (labia, vagina, testicles, penis) and/or anus (butthole). It can also develop in other regions of the body like the face, mouth, chest, hands, or feet. Sometimes, they might be limited to only one section of the body. The rash/sores can (but not always) be accompanied either before or after with other flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Muscle Aches or Backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory Symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.

For people that experience any flu-like symptoms listed above, rash/sores usually manifest 1-3 days after. Some people only experience a rash and no other symptoms. 

Monkeypox rashes can look similar to common skin conditions. Regular pimples do not warrant concern, but any unusual blemishes or rashes should not be ignored.

The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. They can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy. If a person has sores in the anus, bowel movements can be uncomfortable. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have scabbed and fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks. 

Transmission

Monkeypox spreads in a few different ways. There is a common misconception that monkeypox can only be spread through sexual contact. While it can be spread through sexual contact, it is not the sole mode of transmission. Here are the primary ways monkeypox is transmitted:

Skin-to-Skin
Contact

It is primarily through direct skin-to-skin contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including (but not only) during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling.

Contact with Porous Materials Used Heavily by A Person with Monkeypox

Monkeypox can also spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that hasn’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. Generally the more porous an object is, the longer it is that the virus may survive on it. However any surface can host the virus, especially in dark, cool, and low humidity conditions.

Respiratory Secretions During Prolonged, Close, Face-to-Face Contact

Kissing or lying next to someone for long periods of time with your faces close together (such as cuddling in very close proximity) can increase the risk of transmission. 

To Recap, Monkeypox Can Be Spread Through: 

Non-Sexual Contact

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions.
  • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone who is symptomatic.
  • Sharing towels or unwashed clothing with someone who is symptomatic.
  • Environmental surfaces, particularly when in dark, cool, and low humidity environments.
  • Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happens when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox).

Sexual Contact

  • Kissing, hugging, massaging, or prolonged face-to-face contact with someone who is symptomatic.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been disinfected. This includes bedding, towels, and also sex toys and fetish gear.
  • Vaginal, oral, or anal sex where genitals, anus, and/or mouth are in contact with a person with monkeypox.
  • It is UNCLEAR whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, feces, or urine at this time.

Monkeypox is NOT Spread Through

  • Casual brief conversations.

  • Walking by someone with monkeypox, such as in a grocery store.

Other Misconceptions

Misconception: Monkeypox is only spread through sexual contact.

Fact: Monkeypox is Not Only Spread Through Sexual Contact. It can be spread both through non-sexual contact and sexual contact.

Misconception: Monkeypox is only a problem for LGBTQIA+ communities.

Fact: Monkeypox is not limited to LGBTQIA+ communities. Anyone can get it if they are in close contact with a person with monkeypox regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or the sex of one's sexual partner(s). While risk trends may exist at any given point, transmission is not limited to a particular subpopulation. 

Misconception: Only men who have sex with men can get monkeypox. 

Fact: Monkeypox is not limited only to MSM communities (men who have sex with men). Anyone can get it if they are in close contact with a person with monkeypox regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or the sex of one's sexual partner(s). While risk trends may exist at any given point, transmission is not limited to a particular subpopulation. 

Exposure Risk