Student Health Services
400 E. University Way
Corner of 11th and Poplar
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7585
MS 7585
Phone: (509) 963-1881
Fax: (509) 963-1886

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

The CDC is closely tracking cases of monkeypox recently detected in the United States. At this time, the risk of monkeypox in the United States is believed to be low.

Anyone can get monkeypox. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people; however, people with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

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common symptoms

  • Most people with monkeypox will get a rash which may look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. The rash may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • Some people will also develop flu-like symptoms. The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
  • Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.
  • Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. The CDC believes this is currently the most common way that monkeypox is spreading in the U.S.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.

Monkeypox is NOT spread through:

  • Casual conversations
  • Walking by someone with monkeypox, like in a grocery store
  • Touching items like doorknobs

People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

What steps can I take to prevent getting monkeypox?

  • 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.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?

  • Always stay home if you're sick.
  • Cover any blisters or skin lesions.
  • Isolate from others and wear a mask if you have to be around others.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider, or contact Student Health Services at (509) 963-1881, to schedule an appointment, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

What does monkeypox look like?

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images of monkeypox

Where can I learn more?

For more information, and current updates on the monkeypox outbreak, please visit the CDC website.