Monkeypox Information and Resources

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Monkeypox comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, and while monkeypox symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, it is milder and rarely fatal. 

Four images of lesions to help identify monkeypox rash from the CDC

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads through close contact (usually skin-to-skin), including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with monkeypox; touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox; or through contact with respiratory secretions.

This direct contact can happen during sex, hugging, massaging, kissing or prolonged face-to-face contact. A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

How prevalent is it?

The CDC, the Texas Department of Health and local health officials continue to monitor closely the spread of monkeypox, and 170 cases were confirmed in North Texas as of Aug. 2, 2022.

How can I protect myself from 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, and do not kiss, hug 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, and do not handle or touch the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with monkeypox.

What are the symptoms?

Monkeypox symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory problems (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.

The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash one to four days later.

Monkeypox lesions on different skin tones

Source: UK Health Security Agency

Is there a vaccine or treatment for monkeypox?

There is a limited supply of vaccines available to prevent the spread of monkeypox, but they are generally reserved for those most at risk for contracting the virus. Although there are no treatments specifically for the monkeypox virus, there are antiviral drugs that can be used to treat infections. 

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox. Students may also contact Student Health Services at (940) 898-3826. 

According to the Texas Department of Health, vaccines and treatment are in limited supply and medical providers must obtain approval for testing, vaccine and treatment from the local health department.

What do I do if I contract monkeypox?

Hand Hygiene

The use of an alcohol-based hand rub or hand washing with soap and water – should be performed by people with monkeypox and any other co-habitant contacts after touching rash material, clothing, linens, or environmental surfaces that may have had contact with rash material.

Source Control

  • Cover all skin rashes to the extent possible by wearing long sleeves or long pants. Gloves can be considered for covering rash on the hands when not in isolation such as when receiving medical care.
  • People with monkeypox should use well-fitting medical mask, if close contact with others cannot be avoided, such as when receiving medical care.
  • When possible, the person with monkeypox should change their own bandages and handle contaminated linens while wearing disposable gloves, followed by immediate handwashing after removing gloves.

Isolation of People with Monkeypox

  • People with monkeypox should isolate until rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • People with monkeypox should follow these recommendations until cleared by local public health officials:
  • Friends, family or others without an essential need to visit the patient should not visit.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Avoid close contact with pets and other animals.
  • Do not engage in sexual activity that involves direct physical contact.
  • Do not share potentially contaminated items, such as bed linens, clothing, towels, washcloths, drinking glasses or eating utensils.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items, such as counters or light switches, using an EPA-registered disinfectant (such as List Q) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Wear well-fitting medical mask when in close contact with others in the congregate living facility.
  • Avoid use of contact lenses to prevent inadvertent infection of the eye.
  • Avoid shaving rash-covered areas of the body as this can lead to spread of the virus.

Bathroom usage:

  • If possible, use a separate bathroom if there are others who live in the same congregate setting.
  • If there is not a separate bathroom in the congregate living facility, the patient should clean and disinfect surfaces such as counters, toilet seats, and faucets, using an EPA-registered disinfectant (such as List Q) after using a shared space. This may include during activities like showering, using the toilet, or changing bandages that cover the rash. Consider disposable glove use while cleaning if rash is present on the hands.

Limit exposure to others:

  • Avoid contact with unaffected individuals until the rash has resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • Isolate in a room or area separate from other co-habitants and pets when possible.
  • Limit use of spaces, items, and food that are shared with other co-habitants.
  • Do not share dishes and other eating utensils. It is not necessary for the infected person to use separate utensils if properly washed. Wash soiled dishes and eating utensils in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.

Limit contamination within congregate living space:

  • Try to avoid contaminating upholstered furniture and other porous materials that cannot be laundered by placing coversheets, waterproof mattress covers, blankets, or tarps over these surfaces.
  • Additional precautions such as steam cleaning can be considered if there is concern about contamination.

Page last updated 2:40 PM, August 12, 2022