Essential information adapted from a Q&A that is also available in more detail at the California Department of Public Health website.
What is MPX?
MPX, also known as Monkeypox, is a disease caused by infection with the MPX virus which is related to the smallpox virus. While generally less severe and much less contagious than smallpox, MPX can be a serious illness. The virus spreads primarily through skin-to-skin contact with people who have MPX symptoms such as rash or sores, and may also spread through close, personal contact or exposure to materials contaminated with the virus.
Is MPX related to COVID-19?
No, MPX is a completely different disease, is not related to COVID-19, and spreads differently. People with MPX are generally contagious when they have a rash or other symptoms, and MPX spread takes place through prolonged direct, close contact. This is different from COVID-19, which spreads easily through the air.
Who can get MPX?
Anyone can get MPX after having close physical contact with someone who has the infection, especially contact with infected lesions (sores), bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces. However, the current risk to the public is low.
How is MPX transmitted?
It spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. MPX can spread through touching materials used by a person with MPX that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing, towels and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions (talking, coughing, sneezing, breathing) during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact.
What are the signs and symptoms of MPX?
MPX may start with flu-like symptoms; fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores. The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. People with MPX may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most people with MPX will get the rash or sores. Sometimes the sores can be located in places that are difficult for someone to see. Some people have reported developing the rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms
What treatments are available for MPX?
Most infections are mild and will resolve without any treatment. There are currently no treatments specifically for MPX. However, given that MPX and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, antiviral drugs developed to protect against smallpox, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be used to treat MPX.
Do I need to get vaccinated against MPX?
Vaccines are not recommended for people who have MPX. Vaccines are recommended for people who have been exposed to prevent them from developing the disease, and can also be given to those who do not have a known exposure, but are at risk for exposure.
At this time, Santa Clara County Public Health Department has access to the vaccine (JYNNEOS) and is prioritizing the vaccine for preventative use for those who are eligible and at high risk. Visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department MPX website for more information on vaccine eligibility. If you are eligible, visit vax.sccgov.org to register for upcoming vaccine clinics.
What do I do if I have symptoms or have been exposed?
- Wear a mask if you have symptoms. Per campus policy, masks are currently required in all indoor settings to limit COVID-19 spread.
- Cover any rashes and sores until you get them checked by a medical provider as soon as possible.
- Avoid in-person gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal skin-to-skin contact.This includes sexual activity.
- Avoid sharing personal effects, including clothing, linens, and utensils.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
If you believe you may have MPX or been exposed, call a healthcare professional.
- Students may call the Student Wellness Center at (408) 924-6122
- Additional information in Santa Clara County is available by calling the Monkeypox Call Center at (408) 970-2200.
- Santa Clara County Public Health Department has a link for potential vaccine access: https://vax.sccgov.org/. This site will help you determine whether you are currently eligible for a vaccine.
- Staff and faculty are advised to contact their health care provider and visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department for more information.
Visit these sites for more information about MPX:
California Public Health Department
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention