What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. The virus is usually found in areas of Africa, however occasionally there are outbreaks of monkeypox in other areas of the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently tracking an outbreak of monkeypox in several countries, including the United States.

Monkeypox is rarely fatal. It causes symptoms like the flu and a rash that can take several weeks to clear.


What to look for

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches and backache

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Chills

  • Exhaustion

  • Respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion or cough

  • Rash

The rash usually starts one to three days after the fever. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and can be painful or itchy. Monkeypox can spread to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed (two to four weeks).


What to do

Most people with monkey pox recover within two to four weeks without needing any treatment. Care can include easing symptoms by pain management and drinking enough liquids.

  • If you have monkeypox, isolate at home in a separate room from other people until your rash and scabs heal.

  • If you are exposed to monkeypox, monitor for symptoms for 21 days after your date of exposure.

  • If you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider and isolate from others.


Vaccine eligibility and availability

UW Health has a supply of JYNNEOS vaccine, the preferred vaccine that protects against monkeypox. If you believe you are eligible to receive the vaccine and would like to schedule an appointment, call (608) 720-3355.

Vaccine information and eligibility criteria are all subject to change as the monkeypox outbreak continues to evolve.

UW Health vaccine eligibility

In an effort to be inclusive of marginalized and underserved populations, UW Health will accept patients for monkeypox vaccine who are either referred from public health or self-referred and who meet the following inclusion criteria, in order to avoid excluding potential high-risk individuals:

  • Individuals determined to be at high risk for monkeypox infection

    • Known contact with infected individuals identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing and risk exposure assessments (PEP)

    • Presumed contact that may meet the following criteria (PEP++):

      • People who know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox

      • People who attended an event or venue where there was known monkeypox exposure

      • People who have had more than one sexual partner in the past 14 days

      • People who expect to experience any of the above exposures soon

    • People considered to have elevated risk of exposure to monkeypox in the future (PrEP)

      • People who expect to have multiple or anonymous sex partners

      • Clinical laboratory personnel who perform testing to diagnose orthopoxviruses, including those who use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for diagnosis of orthopoxviruses, including Monkeypox virus

      • Research laboratory workers who directly handle cultures or animals contaminated or infected with orthopoxviruses that infect humans, including Monkeypox virus, replication-competent Vaccinia virus, or recombinant Vaccinia viruses derived from replication-competent Vaccinia virus strains

  • Certain healthcare providers working in sexual health clinics or other specialty settings directly caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections

Vaccination schedule

Eligible individuals 18 years or older can receive the two-dose vaccine series via the intradermal route (in the inner forearm) spaced 28 days apart.

The preferred dose/route for individuals 18 years or older is the intradermal dose, however, if an individual is unable to receive the vaccine using this dose/route, then the vaccine can be administered the subcutaneous dose/route.

Eligible individuals under 18 years of age can only receive the two-dose vaccine series via the subcutaneous route (in the inner forearm) spaced 28 days apart.

If you believe you are eligible to receive the vaccine and would like to schedule an appointment, call (608) 720-3355.

For more information about vaccine eligibility, please visit:


Tips to prevent monkeypox

To prevent the spread of monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, prolonged contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox

  • Avoid contact with items and materials used by a person with monkeypox

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Additional resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Monkeypox


Find answers to common questions

People who have had a known exposure to monkeypox or a presumed exposure to monkeypox due to risk factors or certain experiences that might make them more likely to have been exposed to monkeypox are eligible to receive monkeypox vaccination. Refer to the Vaccination section for more information

It is ideal to get vaccinated within four days after exposure; however, it can be up to 14 days following the exposure.

Individuals who develop symptoms of monkeypox before vaccination should reach out to their primary care doctor to discuss symptoms and determine if testing is needed. People with known exposures who are already symptomatic should not be vaccinated because vaccination would not be beneficial.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is a two-dose series that is spaced 28 days apart, regardless of if you receive the intradermal vaccine (injected into the muscle) or the subcutaneous vaccine (injected beneath the skin). If the second dose is not administered during the recommended timeframe, it should be administered as soon as possible.

Normal side effects include redness or swelling at the injection site.

Regardless of age, individuals who have a history of keloids or currently have keloids should receive the vaccine subcutaneously (injected beneath the skin).

The subcutaneous and intradermal doses are interchangeable. A person aged 18 years or older who received a first does of JYNNEOS vaccine subcutaneously may receive a second dose intradermally to complete the vaccination series.

Peak immunity is expected 14 days after the second dose. Currently the length immunity after two doses of JYNNEOS is unknown.

People who believe they are eligible to receive the vaccine and would like to schedule an appointment can call our vaccine team at (608) 720-3355.