Mpox: What you need to know

Know the symptoms of mpox and when to contact your provider.

Overview

What is mpox?

Mpox 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 mpox in other areas of the world.

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

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

Symptoms

What to look for

Mpox 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. Mpox 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).

Treatment

What to do

Most people with mpox 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 mpox, isolate at home in a separate room from other people until your rash and scabs heal.

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

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

Vaccination

Vaccine eligibility and availability

UW Health has a supply of JYNNEOS vaccine, the preferred vaccine that protects against mpox. 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 mpox 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 mpox 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 mpox 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 mpox

      • People who attended an event or venue where there was known mpox 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 mpox 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:

Prevention

Tips to prevent mpox

To prevent the spread of mpox:

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

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

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

Additional resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Mpox

FAQ

Find answers to common questions

People who have had a known exposure to mpox or a presumed exposure to mpox due to risk factors or certain experiences that might make them more likely to have been exposed to mpox are eligible to receive mpox 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 mpox 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. The length of immunity after two doses of JYNNEOS is currently 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.