MPOX (Monkeypox)

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Vaccine Access at SHCS (as of November 22nd, 2022)

If you are concerned about a recent high-risk exposure to MPOX, please contact SHCS for a telehealth provider appointment via the Health e-Messaging portal or by calling 530-752-2349. If you have already been exposed, getting vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure to someone with MPOX (ideally within 4 days) may help prevent the disease, or make it less severe.


Who Is Eligible for a Vaccine?

Per California Department of Public Health guidance as of 11/15/2022, specific eligibility criteria for the vaccine have been removed.  The MPOX vaccine is now available to: 

  • any person who may be at risk for MPOX, and/or
  • any person who requests MPOX vaccination 

While vaccine supply has increased, it is still important that the following groups have priority access to the MPOX vaccine

  • Anyone living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Any cisgender man or trans person who has sex with cisgender men or trans persons 
  • People who use or are eligible for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)  
  • Sex workers 
  • Sexual partners of the above groups 
  • People who have had direct skin-to-skin contact with one or more people AND who know others in their community who have had MPOX infection 
  • People who have been diagnosed with a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 3 months 
  • People who anticipate experiencing the above risks 


How to Make a Vaccine Appointment 

If you are interested in the vaccine, please click on "Appointments" and then "MPOX - Vaccination" in Health e-Messaging (HeMto see available appointments. Please note that due to the limited availability, these appointments may fill up quickly. If you cannot see any "open" appointment slots, it is because they are already booked or not open yet. You can check again at a later time.
 

If You Can’t Make It To Your Appointment, Then Let Us Know!

If you are not included in one of the above groups and book a vaccine appointment, it is especially important that you let us know as far in advance as possible if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment so that we can try to find another student to take your appointment slot.

What Is MPOX (Monkeypox)?

MPOX is a previously rare disease identified in 1958 that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is related to the smallpox virus. While generally less severe and much less contagious than smallpox, MPOX can be a serious illness. It spreads from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus but primarily through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact with people who have MPOX symptoms, such as rash and sores. It is not currently clear if MPOX is transmitted from someone with MPOX who does not have symptoms.

There are currently no treatments specifically for MPOX. However, MPOX and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs developed to protect against smallpox, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be used to treat MPOX. This treatment may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems, or people with complications from the infection or symptoms not controlled with supportive care.

How Do You Get MPOX (Monkeypox)?

Anyone can get MPOX after having close physical contact with someone who has the infection, especially contact with infected lesions (sores), bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces.

MPOX 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.

MPOX can spread through touching materials used by a person with MPOX that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. 

It can also spread by respiratory secretions (talking, coughing, sneezing, breathing) during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. 

MPOX can be spread through:
  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with rash lesions 
  • Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing
  • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
  • Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
  • Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has MPOX)
MPOX is NOT spread through:
  • Casual conversations
  • Walking by someone with monkeypox, like in a grocery store
Scientists are still learning if MPOX can be spread through:
  • Semen or vaginal fluids
  • Contact with people who have no symptoms (we think people with symptoms are most likely to spread it, but some people may have very mild illness and not know they are infected)
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of MPOX (Monkeypox)?

MPOX symptoms usually start within 2 weeks (but can be up to 3 weeks) after exposure to the virus. Usually, people are only thought to be contagious when they have symptoms and until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks. Researchers are still trying to understand if the virus can spread from someone who has no symptoms.

People with MPOX may experience all or only a few of these symptoms: 

  • MPOX might start with symptoms like the flu, with 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. They can look like pimples or blisters, and may be painful and itchy.
    • The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, and face. They may also be limited to one part of the body.

Most people with MPOX will get the rash or sores. Some people have reported developing the rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms.

If you have MPOX symptoms such as a new or unexplained rash, talk to a healthcare provider, even if you don't think you have had contact with someone who has MPOX.  Your provider may be able to offer treatments that are not specific to MPOX, but may help to reduce your symptoms, like prescribed mouth rinses or topical gels or creams.

What Should You Do If You Are Exposed to MPOX or Experiencing Symptoms?

Contact a health care provider as soon as possible and let them know you have symptoms or have been exposed to MPOX. Health care providers can provide testing and care for people who are diagnosed with MPOX.

Healthcare providers and local health departments may also recommend a vaccine for those who are exposed to help prevent infection or decrease the seriousness of the illness.  

How Do You Prevent MPOX (Monkeypox)?

There are number of ways to prevent the spread of MPOX, including:

  • Always talk to your sexual partner(s) about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner's body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sexual activity, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • Avoiding contact with infected animals 

Check out the list of resources at the bottom of this page for more tips and information.

What about MPOX (Monkeypox) Vaccines? (CDC)

There are currently two vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are available for preventing MPOX infection: JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. However, there are no data yet available on the effectiveness of these vaccines in the current outbreak. Current vaccine supplies are also very limited.

The CDC advises that people who have been exposed to MPOX be given the vaccine to prevent them from developing the disease. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is most effective at preventing MPOX if the vaccine is administered  within 4 days of exposure. If given between 4–14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may help reduce symptoms, but may not prevent the infection from developing.

 At this time, the JYNNEOS vaccine is being prioritized for the following groups:

  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for known close contacts of MPOX cases who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments.
  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)++  for individuals with certain risk factors who are more likely to have been recently exposed to MPOX even if they have not had documented exposure to someone with confirmed MPOX, such as people who attended an event or venue where there was known MPOX exposure.
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for individuals at occupational risk of MPOX according to Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidance, including: laboratory workers who perform MPOX testing, and clinical and public health workers who collect MPOX specimens.

For information about vaccine access and eligibility in your community, contact your local health department or make a telehealth appointment with your healthcare provider. SHCS’ Appointment Line is 530-752-2349.

What If You're Diagnosed with MPOX (Monkeypox)?

The first thing you should know is that you are still awesome, and have not done anything wrong. You still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect!

It is important that you follow the guidance given to you by your healthcare provider to keep yourself (and others) healthy. 

If you have a rash and do not require hospitalization, isolate at home until your rash is fully resolved, scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.

Why Are Gay and Bisexual Cisgender Men Most Affected by the Current MPOX (Monkeypox) Outbreak?

First, people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can get MPOX. Viruses do not have eyes, and MPOX is not a “gay disease!” 

With that said, infectious diseases are always able to spread more quickly in smaller social networks than larger ones – and the tightly-knit social network of gay and bisexual cis men is much smaller than the general population’s. 

Although the recent outbreaks in Europe and North America have occurred among gay and bisexual men, this is likely a result of coincidental contact with people who have MPOX at one or more recent crowded LGBTQ-focused events – resulting in a cluster of cases within the community (UCLA GSSPI).

*If you are a gay or bisexual man, check out UCLA’s resource: What Gay and Bisexual Men Need to Know about Monkeypox.

Resources