Have you received your first AND second dose of the monkeypox (MPOX) vaccine? Get both doses for the best protection.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that is spread through close physical contact. A majority of monkeypox cases in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties have been among men who reported sexual or close intimate contact with other men.
The main symptoms of monkeypox are rashes and sores. The rash can look like bumps, pimples, and blisters that may be painful or itchy. Sores can look like lesions or ulcers. Rashes and sores may appear on one’s face, mouth, hands and feet, chest, genitals and anus.
People who get monkeypox may also develop flu-like symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Headache and muscle aches
However, the symptoms of monkeypox vary a lot. Many people with the infection never get a flu-like illness and the first thing they notice is a rash or sores. Some people report that their first symptom is rectal pain.
Symptoms usually start within 1-3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and most people recover in 2-4 weeks.
How is monkeypox transmitted?
Monkeypox is contagious, and spreads by:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, scabs, or the mucous membranes (mouth, anus) of a person with monkeypox
- Sex and other intimate skin-to-skin contact.
- Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Kissing and other face-to-face contact through respiratory droplets or oral fluids (saliva).
How can I protect myself from getting monkeypox?
The current recommendations are to:
- Get the first and second dose of the monkeypox vaccine. The second dose is available to anyone 28 days after receiving the first dose. Note: The vaccine is estimated to be 85% effective after two doses. So other prevention measures should still be considered.
Note: The vaccine is estimated to be 85% effective after two doses. So other prevention measures should still be considered.
Other ways to reduce your risk:
- Decrease your number of sex and intimate contact partners.
- Avoid sex parties and public sex venues, like bathhouses, and gatherings involving skin-to-skin contact.
- Cover exposed skin while in dense crowds.
- Be mindful that activities, like kissing, can still spread monkeypox even at events where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to have skin-to-skin contact.
- Use condoms to help prevent skin-to skin contact, particularly if there are sores or rashes on the genitals or anus.
- Talk to your partner about new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body, or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus, and other symptoms. Follow up with your provider if you suspect monkeypox or have questions.
What about testing and treatment?
If you or your partners feel sick, or have any rashes or sores:
- Avoid sex, gatherings, and prolonged skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact.
- Visit your doctor to get tested and treated for monkeypox.
- Request an STD screening to rule out syphilis or other infections.
If you don’t have a doctor or health insurance, you can get tested and treated for monkeypox, and STDs, at the Public Health – Seattle & King County Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview, open M/W/TH/F, 7:30 am – 6:00 pm and Tuesday 9:30 am – 6:00 pm.