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Page last reviewed: December 4, 2023

Mpox

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    What You Should Do

    Anyone with a rash that looks like mpox needs to talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. People at higher risk might include but are not limited to anyone who:

    1. Had contact with someone with a rash that looks like mpox or someone  diagnosed with confirmed or probable mpox
    2. Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
    3. Traveled outside the U.S. to a country with confirmed cases of mpox or where mpox activity has been ongoing
    4. Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

    Mpox vaccine eligibility for the following groups

    Given the limited current national vaccine supply, the Public Health priority is to administer as many doses of mpox vaccine as possible to all eligible people at this time.

    Group A — By invitation only:

    • People confirmed to have had high- or intermediate-risk contact with someone with mpox.
    • People who attended an event or venue where there was a high risk of exposure to someone with confirmed mpox virus through skin-to-skin or sexual contact.

    Public Health or clinic partners will directly communicate to eligible people to provide details on how and where to access the JYNNEOS vaccine.

    Group B — People age 18 and older who:

    • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who recently have had multiple sexual partners, including anyone currently considered highest risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender men, and transgender women, or individuals with a partner suspected of having monkeypox due to rash or sores,
    • sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender),
    • staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs,
    • are HIV positive or on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),
    • have had a diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis within the previous 12 months, or 
    • have been recommended by their provider to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine due to an immunocompromising condition. (Recipient MUST have a completed Provider Attestation Form)

    People who fall under these eligibility requirements can get vaccinated several ways:

    • Contacting their doctor or healthcare provider to find out if they are a monkeypox vaccine provider. If they are a vaccine provider, people can ask to get vaccinated.
    • Visiting a public mpox vaccine location with their ID and provide one of the following:
      • Proof of chlamydia, gonorrhea or early syphilis infection in the last 12 months in the form of a lab report (the proof can be shown from your phone, including a screenshot of the result or within a patient portal); OR
      • A monkeypox provider attestation form completed by your doctor (these attestations forms would be provided by a doctor if the patient meets the eligibility requirements but they are not a mpox vaccine provider).

    If you have mpox symptoms or are currently under isolation for mpox, please do not attend the vaccination clinics or walk-up sites. If you think you have mpox, please speak with a provider and get tested.

    Who is at risk of getting Mpox

    The threat of mpox to Houston’s population currently remains low. The outbreak currently is largely affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. However, anyone can get mpox from having either prolonged face-to-face contact or sex with someone infected with mpox. Contact with items such as clothing or linens that previously touched an infected person’s rash or body fluids is another way mpox can spread. Below are the top three things you need to know now.

    Learn to recognize the symptoms

    A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks. It can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion

    Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after infection.

    Know your risks

    Close face-to-face contact

    Mpox can spread from an infected person to a healthy person by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

    Sex

    Even though it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, mpox can spread during intimate physical contact between people. This contact can happen when you have sex, including:

    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or touching the genitals or anus of a person with mpox
    • Hugging, massage, kissing or talking closely
    • Touching fabrics, shared surfaces, and objects, such as bedding, towels and sex toys, that were used by a person with mpox

    Talk frankly with your partner or partners before having sex and ask if they are experiencing any mpox symptoms. 

    Stay alert

    People who suspect that they have mpox symptoms such as new unexplained rash or sores need to contact their doctor to set up a screening appointment. For more information about monkeypox, prevention tips and resources, visit houstonhealth.org or call the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.

    Quién corre riesgo de contraer la viruela del mono

    La amenaza de la viruela del mono para la población de Houston sigue siendo baja. Actualmente,
    el brote afecta en gran medida a los homosexuales, bisexuales y otros hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres. Sin embargo, cualquier persona puede contraer la viruela del mono al tener un contacto prolongado directo con otra persona o al tener relaciones sexuales con alguien infectado con la viruela del mono. El contacto con artículos como ropa o ropa de cama que previamente estuvieron expuestos al sarpullido o los fluidos corporales de una persona infectada es otra forma en la que se puede propagar la viruela del mono. A continuación, se encuentran las tres cosas principales que actualmente necesitas saber.

    Aprende a reconocer los síntomas

    Una erupción que puede parecer sarpullido o ampollas que aparece en la cara, dentro de la boca y en otras partes del cuerpo, como las manos, los pies, el pecho, los genitales o el ano. La erupción pasa por
    diferentes etapas antes de curarse por completo. La enfermedad suele durar de dos a cuatro semanas. Puede propagarse desde el momento en que comienzan los síntomas hasta que la erupción se cura por
    completo y se forma una nueva capa de piel.

    • Fiebre
    • Dolor de cabeza
    • Dolores musculares y dolor de espalda
    • Escalofríos
    • Ganglios linfáticos inflamados
    • Agotamiento

    A veces, las personas tienen un sarpullido primero, seguido de otros síntomas; mientras otros solo experimentan el sarpullido. Los síntomas suelen aparecer una o dos semanas después de la infección.

    Conoce tus riesgos

    Contacto cercano con una persona enferma

    La viruela del mono puede propagarse de una persona infectada a una persona sana a través de secreciones respiratorias durante un contacto prolongado cara a cara.

    Sexo

    Aunque no se considera una infección de transmisión sexual, la viruela del mono puede propagarse durante el contacto físico íntimo entre personas. Este contacto puede ocurrir cuando se tienen relaciones sexuales, incluyendo:

    • Sexo oral, anal y vaginal, o al tocar los genitales o el ano de una persona con viruela del mono
    • Abrazar, masajear, besar o hablar de cerca con una persona contagiada.
    • Tocar telas, superficies compartidas y objetos como: ropa de cama, toallas y juguetes sexuales que fueron usados por una persona con viruela del mono.
    • Habla claramente con tu pareja o parejas antes de tener relaciones sexuales y pregúnteles si están experimentando algún síntoma de la viruela del mono.

    Manténte alerta

    Si sospechas que tienes síntomas de viruela del mono, como un nuevo sarpullido o llagas inexplicables, comunícate con tu médico para programar una cita de detección. Para obtener más información sobre la viruela del mono, consejos de prevención y recursos disponibles visita houstonhealth.org o llama al centro de llamadas del Departamento de Salud al 832-393-4220.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    2022 U.S. Mpox

    CDC is closely tracking cases of mpox recently detected in the United States. CDC urges healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with mpox.

    2022 U.S. Outbreak

    Current Situation in Houston, Texas

    Total Mpox/Orthopox cases

    728

    As of December 1, 2023

    New cases in last 30 days: 1

    The Houston Health Department laboratory tests for orthopoxvirus. Positive orthopoxvirus cases are considered presumptive mpox cases. Samples may be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where they are characterized further through additional tests.

    Community Health Education

    Five Things to Know About Mpox