UT Health RGV is monitoring the global outbreak of monkeypox and is dedicated to providing the latest information to keep our community safe and protected.

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is similar to the virus that causes smallpox.

Symptoms for monkeypox may vary, but almost always involve a rash with blisters on an infected person’s mouth, face, chest, hands, feet, genitals, or anus.

Monkeypox is a contact-based disease, which means it primarily spreads through close physical contact with an infected person’s rash, scabs, or body fluids. Touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that were used by someone with monkeypox can also lead to infection. For your safety, avoid close contact with anyone who has a rash resembling monkeypox.

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What You Need to Know

  • People with monkeypox can easily spread the disease through skin-to-skin contact. This includes touching, hugging, kissing, and having sex.
  • An infected person can spread monkeypox from the moment their symptoms begin until their rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
  • Monkeypox typically lasts 2-4 weeks and most people fully recover without the need for medical treatment.
  • Vaccines for monkeypox are available, but they are limited. Public health experts recommend vaccines only for those at highest risk of monkeypox exposure and infection.

Symptoms

Some may experience flu-like symptoms before or after a monkeypox rash has formed. Be mindful of the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash that resembles blisters or pimples on or around the genitals, anus, face, hands, feet, and other areas

Testing

When considering a test for monkeypox, here is what you need to know:

  • If you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. Your provider will examine your rash and determine if testing is needed.
  • For specimen tests, a provider will use a swab to rub across your rash.
  • While waiting for your results, take precautions to avoid getting or spreading monkeypox to others.
  • Isolate at home if you can. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and cover your rash with bandages if you must go out. Keep a distance from others.

Prevention

You can help protect yourself from monkeypox by following these simple steps:

  • Do not touch someone’s rash or scabs.
  • Do not touch, hug, kiss, or have sex with someone who has monkeypox or related symptoms.
  • Do not touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of an infected person.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with an infected person.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Vaccinations for Monkeypox

UT Health RGV clinical sites are not administering the vaccine at this time. Check back for updates on the availability of monkeypox vaccinations.

Treatments for Monkeypox

If you test positive for monkeypox, there are several steps you can take to manage your symptoms. Medications may also be available for those at risk for severe illness.

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If you have an unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms:

  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Wear a mask and cover your rash.
  • Contact your healthcare provider.

Additional Monkeypox Information