Stop the Spread – Monkeypox

The World Health Organization declared Monkeypox (MPV) a global health emergency on July 23, 2022 and the U.S. declared Monkeypox a public health emergency on August 4, 2022.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same group of viruses as smallpox. Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder; and Monkeypox is rarely fatal. It can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s body fluids or MPV lesions.

Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get Monkeypox if they have close contact with someone infected with the virus. Most cases have been identified among people who self-identify as gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary people, who are age 18 or older and have had multiple recent partners. At this time, despite that the current level of MPV in the U.S. is higher than normal, the risk to the general population is low.

More information about outbreaks in the United States can be found here: Past U.S. Cases and Outbreaks | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

Mason Resources for Questions and Concerns:
Students: Please call 703-993-2831 if you have a lesion that you think might be Monkeypox and wait to be evaluated at Student Health Services.

Employees: Please contact your Primary Care Provider or Urgent Care for testing. For additional questions or concerns, contact Employee Health & Well-Being at 703-993-6001 or via email at: ehw@gmu.edu

Monkeypox Virus Safety Plan (PDF)


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Vaccination

CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to Monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to Monkeypox.

VDH has expanded the eligibility criteria for individuals to include:

  • People with a known exposure to someone with monkeypox
  • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had anonymous or multiple (more than 1) sexual partners in the last 2 weeks; or
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); or
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)
  • People of any sexual orientation or gender who:
    • are living with HIV/AIDS
    • have been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infection in the past three months.

Currently the following are numbers to contact for vaccine eligibility determination and scheduling:

  • To register up for a Monkeypox vaccine appointment, click here, select Monkeypox, and enter zip code 22030 to view Mason’s available clinics. Please note that at this time, appointments are required. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
  • Fairfax County Health Department call center 703-267-3511; further information from the county on Monkeypox is available at: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox
  • The Inova Pride Clinic (703) 522-1175 also has vaccine availability to those who meet eligibility.

Testing

You must have a rash/lesion to be tested for Monkeypox. The source for the test is a swab of the lesion (this is not a blood test). If you have a rash or lesion(s):

  • Contact your local health department for testing during normal business hours.
  • Contact your Primary Care Provider or Urgent Care Center to confirm they are performing testing. Students can be tested at Student Health Services. To schedule an appointment call 703-993-2831.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Monkeypox transmitted?

Anyone can get Monkeypox. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. Typically, respiratory exposure occurs after spending several hours with someone who is infectious.
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids

Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It’s also possible for people to get Monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

More information regarding transmission can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/transmission

How can I protect myself?

Individuals can minimize their risk for exposure to Monkeypox by:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like Monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with Monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with Monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with Monkeypox has used.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with Monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with Monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
  • Ask sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms of Monkeypox and abstain from activities with those who do.

This information can also be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention/protect-yourself.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms typically appear 5-21 days after contact with the virus. People can exhibit any of these symptoms or just have a rash.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that looks like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and other parts of the body including hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.
    • The rash goes through multiple different stages before healing completely. It can begin as a pimple or bump and turn into a sore, ulceration or blister before resolving.
  • A person is considered contagious the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have Monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
  • Further information about signs and symptoms of Monkeypox can be found on the CDC website: Signs and Symptoms | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC.

Where can I get tested for Monkeypox?

You must have a rash/lesion to be tested for Monkeypox. The source for the test is a swab of the lesion (this is not a blood test). If you have a rash or lesion(s):

  • Contact your local health department for testing during normal business hours.
  • Contact your Primary Care Provider, Clinic, or Urgent Care Center to confirm they are performing testing.
  • Add information here about testing on GMU campus
  • Students can be tested at Student Health Services. To schedule an appointment please call 703-993-2831 if you have a lesion that you think might be Monkeypox and wait to be evaluated at Student Health Services.

What should I do if I am infected with Monkeypox?

If you are sick with Monkeypox:

  • Students should contact Student Health Services.
  • Isolate at home.
  • If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.
  • Handle and wash your laundry separately from others. Do not shake your linen.
  • Household disinfectants work well. Guidelines for disinfecting your home can be found here: Disinfecting Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

What treatment is available for Monkeypox?

There are currently no approved treatments specifically for Monkeypox virus infections, however, since Monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, antiviral drugs to treat smallpox can be used. Tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill.

If you have symptoms of Monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider or health department to see if you should receive treatment. More information regarding signs and symptoms of Monkeypox can be found on the CDC website: Signs and Symptoms | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

Is a Monkeypox vaccine available and is it effective?

  • Two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available for preventing Monkeypox infection – JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000.
  • The US is currently using the JYNNEOS vaccine which requires 2 doses. You will be considered immune 2 weeks after the second dose.
  • Data is still be collected on the efficacy of the vaccine, but is believed to be 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox infection. Post-exposure vaccine should be administered within 4 days of exposure and is believed to reduce symptoms and severity of illness if infected. The earlier the vaccine is administered, the higher the effectiveness.
  • The only contraindication to the vaccine is an allergy to the vaccine components.

More information about vaccines for Monkeypox can be found here: CDC Considerations for Monkeypox Vaccinations

Who is eligible for the Monkeypox vaccine?

CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to Monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to Monkeypox.

VDH has expanded the eligibility criteria for individuals to include:

  • People with a known exposure to someone with monkeypox
  • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had anonymous or multiple (more than 1) sexual partners in the last 2 weeks; or
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); or
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)
  • People of any sexual orientation or gender who:
    • are living with HIV/AIDS
    • have been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infection in the past three months.

Currently the following are numbers to contact for vaccine eligibility determination and scheduling:

  • To register up for a Monkeypox vaccine appointment, click here, select Monkeypox, and enter zip code 22030 to view Mason’s available clinics. Please note that at this time, appointments are required. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
  • Fairfax County Health Department call center 703-267-3511; further information from the county on Monkeypox is available at: Fairfax County Health Department-Monkeypox
  • The Inova Pride Clinic (703) 522-1175 also has vaccine availability to those who meet eligibility.

Where can I find more information about MonkeyPox?

More information can be found at: CDC Monkeypox Virus