Monkeypox

Para obtener información sobre la viruela del mono en español, visite el sitio web de CDPHE [enlace externo].

General Information about Monkeypox

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [external link], Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment [external link] and local public health officials are currently monitoring cases of monkeypox in Colorado. 

Monkeypox is a virus in the orthopox family of viruses. Monkeypox is rare, and most people have a mild illness and recover on their own. However, there are severe cases of monkeypox where treatment may be needed. The type of monkeypox spreading in the United States is rarely deadly and has a fatality rate of less than one percent. 

Monkeypox can spread from person to person when someone who has monkeypox has close contact with someone else. Close contact can mean coming into physical contact with a sick person’s sores, bumps or lesions, including through sex. Monkeypox may also be spread through touching the bed linens or clothing of someone who is sick. Monkeypox can survive on linens, clothing and on environmental surfaces, especially when in dark, cool and low-humidity environments for weeks or months.

Recent cases in the United States have been infected through person-to-person contact. Brief interactions without physical contact are unlikely to result in getting the virus. Recent data suggest people who have recently traveled to a country where monkeypox has been reported, or men who have sex with other men, are at heightened risk.

Symptoms of monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms that may include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Typically, a rash or skin bumps develop within one to three days after the onset of fever, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. 

Monkeypox can look like syphilis, herpes, blisters or even acne, so be sure to get checked out if you develop a new rash or bumps. A person is considered contagious until all bumps or lesions are healed, meaning the scabs fall off and there is a new layer of healthy skin. Isolation [external link] is required until this happens. Most people recover within two to four weeks.

What to do if You Think You Have Monkeypox

People who have symptoms of monkeypox or think they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact a health care provider to discuss testing and/or vaccination. If you do not have a health care provider, or do not have insurance, JCPH has testing available for people who have a rash they think may be monkeypox. Call 303-239-7078 or reach out to the JCPH Clinic Team to ask about available appointments. 

If you have a rash or sores, cover them with long sleeves, pants or a bandage. Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth during your appointment.

Monkeypox Vaccine Information

When it comes to monkeypox vaccination, there are two terms you may hear: PEP and PEP++. PEP is post-exposure prophylaxis, which means that it is given after an individual may have been exposed to the monkeypox virus. PEP++ is also referred to as “expanded PEP”, people with certain risk factors are more likely to have been recently exposed to monkeypox without knowing.

Jefferson County Public Health is offering free vaccine for PEP or PEP++. Vaccine eligibility is for those 18 years or older who do not have symptoms of monkeypox infection and/or:

  • Have been exposed in the last 14 days to either someone who has been diagnosed or suspected monkeypox infection.
  • Are at increased risk of being exposed, including people who identify as gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or transgender, gender non-conforming or gender non-binary and who have a history of multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days.

Some people who have been recently exposed to monkeypox should get a vaccine called Jynneos [external link]. The FDA has fully approved this vaccine.

Request a vaccine appointment using this form [external link]. Vaccine supply is limited, completing this form does not guarantee an appointment.

Call 303-239-7078 or reach out to the JCPH Clinic Team to ask about available appointments. 

Getting vaccinated lowers your chance of getting monkeypox if you may have been exposed. The sooner an exposed person gets the vaccine, the better. The vaccine can also reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do get sick. People who already have symptoms of monkeypox (fever, rash, etc.) are not eligible to get vaccinated, but should be referred for testing.

More Information

For more information, including frequently asked questions [external link], a list of locations where you can get tested and additional vaccine information, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website [external link]. You can also reach out directly to the JCPH clinic team for questions or more information about the monkeypox virus.