What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness. Symptoms may include fever, chills, sore throat, headache, fatigue, body aches or rectal pain. You may also develop a rash or lesions.
- Sometimes a rash appears first, followed by other symptoms.
- You may only get a rash without having other symptoms.
- The rash may look like pimples to blisters.
- The rash usually appears on the face, inside the mouth, hands, chest, feet and genitals.
People usually develop symptoms 3-21 days after being exposed to the virus, and symptoms usually last for 2-4 weeks.
- You are contagious until the rash is fully healed.
- You should see a health care provider as soon as you develop symptoms or identify yourself as a potential close contact.
- If you have a weakened immune system, are pregnant or have other skin problems like eczema, you may be at increased risk and become more severely ill with disease.
Am I at Risk?
Anyone can get monkeypox, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Currently, many (though not all) reported cases have been among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men.
You can get monkeypox from close, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a rash or scabs from monkeypox.
- This can include hugging, cuddling, a massage or close contact sports.
- It also includes contact with spit droplets during face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact such as kissing and cuddling.
- It can also spread through sexual contact, including touching the genitals and oral, anal or vaginal sex.
While less likely, you can also get monkeypox from contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
How Can I Stay Safe?
The best way to protect yourself from monkeypox is to avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Things to consider:
- Be mindful of your sexual contacts. Do not proceed if you notice a rash or if the individual is ill. It would be helpful to have one sexual partner at a time.
- A crowded setting where there is minimal clothing (club, crowded bar, party, concert, etc.) has some risk. Avoid visible rashes and minimize skin-to-skin contact.
- Always practice good hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly.
- Consider wearing a well-fitting mask in high-risk settings.
- Wipe your gym equipment before and after use.
- Do not share cups or eating utensils with anyone.
- Do not share sheets, towels, blankets or clothing with others.
Who is a Close Contact?
- A person who has had skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox (close contact sports, hugging, cuddling, dancing).
- A person who has sexual contact with someone with monkeypox. This includes kissing, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex or any combination.
- Being within six feet for a total of three hours or more (cumulative) of an unmasked person with monkeypox, without wearing a tight-fitting mask.
- A person whose direct skin or clothing has been in contact with materials (towels, clothing, linens, towels, sex toys) that have had direct contact with monkeypox lesions.
If you think you are a close contact, you may be eligible for post-exposure treatment. Please call Health Services at (401) 341-2904 Ext. 3.
I Think I Have Monkeypox. Now What?
Start isolation immediately and see a health care provider for assessment and testing. During business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday), call Health Services at (401) 341-2904 Ext. 3. After hours and weekends, call the Office of Safety and Security at (401) 341-2325.