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Monkeypox

Updated August 8, 2022

Vaccine

Monkeypox vaccine is currently available only to people who meet ALL of the following:

  • You are a man* (cisgender or transgender) who has sex with men
  • You are NOT in a mutually exclusive, monogamous sexual relationship with only one person
  • You do NOT have any symptoms of monkeypox (see "Symptoms" tab above)

All available monkeypox vaccine doses have been allocated to upcoming appointments, so we are unable to make additional appointments until more vaccine doses are available.

If you have a monkeypox vaccine appointment, there is a dose reserved for you.

If you still need to make an appointment, we will share here when we have additional doses available and will again be opening appointments.

Prevention

  • Monkeypox is most often spread through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact, including:

      • Oral, anal, or vaginal sex or touching the genital area of someone with monkeypox.
      • Touching the monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from someone with monkeypox.
      • Hugging, massaging, or kissing someone with monkeypox.

    Less often, monkeypox may also be spread by:

      • Touching fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
      • Prolonged face-to-face contact with someone with monkeypox.
      • Contact with respiratory secretions from someone with monkeypox.
  • Because monkeypox can be spread via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, it is important to avoid close, intimate, or sexual contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms or a rash.
  • Condoms will not prevent the spread of monkeypox.
  • People are not known to be contagious until they have symptoms.

Symptoms

If you have symptoms of monkeypox—particularly a new, unexplained rash—please see your healthcare provider; the commercial laboratories they use for diagnosing other infections (ARUP, Labcorp, Quest) can test for orthopoxvirus infection.

If you are uninsured and have symptoms, call 385-468-4194 to discuss testing options. SLCoHD assists with monkeypox testing only for uninsured individuals. 

  • Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin within 21 days after exposure.
  • Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
    • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
    • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
      • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
      • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
  • You may experience all or only a few symptoms.
    • Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
    • Most people with monkeypox will get a rash.
    • Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms.
  • Symptoms usually lasts 2-4 weeks. People with symptoms should stay isolated the entire time they have symptoms.
  • The illness is over when all pustules have scabbed over and fallen off, and new skin is present.
  • People are contagious the entire time they have symptoms.
  • Most people recover fully with no treatment. People with severe illness or who are immunocompromised may receive antiviral medication with the approval of SLCoHD and the CDC.

FAQ

Download our monkeypox fact sheet (English/Español)
View the CDC's monkeypox fact sheet (English)

  • What is monkeypox?
    Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus first identified in animals. It occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. Currently, the virus is circulating in western Europe, Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
  • What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?
    Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
    • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
    • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
      • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
      • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

You may experience all or only a few symptoms

    • Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
    • Most people with monkeypox will get a rash.
    • Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.

  • How is monkeypox spread?
    Monkeypox is most often spread through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Oral, anal, or vaginal sex or touching the genital area of someone with monkeypox.
    • Touching the monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from someone with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massaging, or kissing someone with monkeypox.

    Less often, monkeypox may also be spread by:

    • Touching fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact with someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions from someone with monkeypox.
  • How long after exposure do symptoms appear?
    Symptoms usually appear 7 to 14 days after exposure but can range from 5 to 21 days. People with monkeypox are NOT contagious before they have symptoms.
  • How long is an infected person contagious?
    A person with monkeypox is contagious as long as they have symptoms, including any lesions. They stop being contagious when all pox lesions scab over and fall off, and there is new skin underneath.
  • How long does monkeypox last?
    The illness typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. People with monkeypox can spread the virus the whole time they have symptoms. Once all the lesions have healed and scabs have fallen off, the person is no longer contagious.
  • How is monkeypox diagnosed?
    A health care provider will swab any lesions for testing, and a laboratory will analyze the samples for the monkeypox virus.
  • How is monkeypox treated?
    Most people recover fully with no treatment. People with severe illness or who are immunocompromised may receive antiviral medication with the approval of SLCoHD and the CDC.

  • How can I protect myself from monkeypox?
    • Avoid intimate, sexual, or skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash.
    • Avoid close, prolonged contact with anyone with flu-like symptoms.
    • People ill with flu-like symptoms should isolate in a room or separate area from other family members, if possible.
  • What do I do if I have had close contact with someone who has monkeypox?
    If you were in close contact with someone confirmed to have monkeypox while the person with monkeypox had symptoms, you may qualify for post-exposure vaccine (known as "PEP"). Please contact us at 385-468-4100 to be considered for PEP.
    Regardless, you should monitor yourself for illness for 21 days and seek medical care if you develop symptoms. If symptoms develop, you should isolate at home except to receive medical care.
  • What do I do if I have symptoms? How do I get tested for monkeypox?
    See your healthcare provider; the commercial laboratories they use for diagnosing other infections (ARUP and Labcorp) can test for orthopox virus infection.
    If you do not have access to a healthcare provider, contact the SLCoHD STD Clinic at 385-468-4242.
  • Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
    No. Monkeypox is transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact of any kind. So while it is often transmitted sexually, that is not the only way someone might catch it.
  • Why is monkeypox vaccine only available to gay men?
    SLCoHD and UDHHS have prioritized distribution of the state’s limited vaccine doses to the populations at greatest risk of transmission. Currently, the population at greatest risk of transmission is men who have sex with men, particularly those who have multiple intimate partners. Many men who have sex with men identify as gay, bisexual, or queer, but not all do.
  • Why are you treating monkeypox like a “gay” disease?
    Anyone can catch monkeypox; viruses do not know or care who you are. But because we are not currently seeing the virus spread in the general community, and almost all current cases of monkeypox in SLCo have occurred in men who have sex with men, that is where our focus is—on the population experiencing cases and the population at the greatest risk of illness. If we see data that indicates we have a different population also experiencing cases, then public health will shift its efforts to also address the needs of that additional population.
  • Will my childhood smallpox vaccination protect me from monkeypox?
    The CDC reports that previous smallpox vaccination does provide some protection against monkeypox, but there is evidence that protection wanes over time and is not fully protective for life. There are people who received smallpox vaccine decades ago who have caught monkeypox in this outbreak. So, the CDC recommends people at risk for monkeypox in the current outbreak be vaccinated again.
  • What do I do if someone in my household has been diagnosed with monkeypox?
    People with lesions that cannot be easily covered should isolate in a room or separate area from other family members and pets, if possible.

    People with monkeypox should not leave home except as required for follow-up medical care.

    Cover skin lesions (long sleeves, pants), if possible. The person with monkeypox should wear a surgical mask. If this is not feasible, others in the home should consider wearing a mask.

    People in the home of someone who has monkeypox should frequently and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

    Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, towels, or clothing, that has been in contact with someone who has monkeypox. Soiled laundry should be washed often in warm water with standard laundry detergent.

    Do not share dishes and other utensils. Soiled dishes should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with soap and warm water.

    Clean and disinfect surfaces with standard household products in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Where can I get more information?
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Salt Lake County Health Department
General Information  
Phone: (385) 468-4100