Updated August 25, 2022
Monkeypox is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox was discovered when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown.
Monkeypox spreads through close, personal contact, including:
- Intimate contact with a person with monkeypox, including oral, anal or vaginal sex; hugging, massage and kissing; prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
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.
People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough. Those with monkeypox may experience all or only a few symptoms.
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
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. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
If you think you have been exposed to monkeypox, you can obtain medical consultation at the Winslow Health Center, which is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 3 pm (no appointment necessary). Testing for monkeypox is available at the Winslow Health Center.
Students who test positive for monkeypox are able to use our isolation housing or can isolate at home. Employees who test positive for monkeypox are advised to seek guidance from their health provider and stay home until cleared to return to campus.