hMPXV (Monkeypox)

EN ESPAÑOL:  hMPXV (Viruela del Mono)

Updated 9/19/2022

Outbreaks of the Human Monkeypox Virus (hMPXV) have been in the news recently. As of August 2022, 14,115 cases have been confirmed across the country and 116 cases have been confirmed in Oregon. Although the risk to most people is low, anyone can be affected by hMPXV. The virus spreads most commonly from prolonged, intimate skin to skin contact with an infected person’s rash or sores. For the most up to date data, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

If you think you have been exposed to or have hMPXV, call a medical provider or Benton County Public Health at 541-766-6255.

On this page:

What is hMPXV?

hMPXV is a virus that has caused small outbreaks in the USA over the last few decades. In relative terms, hMPXV does not spread like COVID-19, and is usually spread through skin to skin contact. Studies are currently underway to better understand hMPXV and how it spreads. The hMPXV virus is not limited to one community or another; anyone is susceptible to the virus. 

Signs and Symptoms 

The most common sign of hMPXV is a rash or sores (pox). The rash can look similar to acne, bug bites, or some sexually transmitted diseases. The rash may be hard to see. It can be painful or itchy and occur anywhere on the body including:

  • Face
  • Hands
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Genital area
  • Mouth
  • Anus
  • Rectum

The rash starts as raised bumps that then fill with fluid (clear to cloudy), turn into open sores, then scab over and disappear. This process usually takes 2-4 weeks.

Individuals may also have flu-like symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

If you're feeling sick and notice any new rashes - especially on the genitals or around the anus - avoid close skin-to-skin contact with others, and speak to a healthcare provider or call Benton County Public Health at 541-766-6255.

Spread or Transmission

In most cases, hMPXV is spread by: 

  • Close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who has hMPXV lesions. This is the most common method of infection and may include sex, cuddling, massage and kissing.
  • Contact with towels, clothing or other objects that have been in contact with hMPXV lesions. Infection happens much less often this way.
  • Respiratory droplets during extended face-to-face contact with someone who has hMPXV. This type of spread is uncommon.

Prevention

Surveillance and rapid identification of new cases are critical for containing an outbreak. During hMPXV outbreaks, close contact with infected persons is the most significant risk factor for hMPXV infection.

  • Avoid sex or other intimate contact if you or your partner have new skin wounds, fever, swollen lymph nodes or otherwise suspect exposure to hMPXV. Condoms do not prevent the spread of the virus (but do prevent the spread of other infections).
  • Avoid contact with materials such as bedding that have been used for an extended period of time by someone infected.
  • Wash hands thoroughly if you have contact with someone infected with hMPXV.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself at home and contact a healthcare provider.

Vaccination

There is a vaccine that is safe and effective against hMPXV but, due to a limited supply, only certain people are eligible to receive it right now. The CDC recommends the vaccine be given within four days of exposure, if possible, to prevent onset of the disease. It can be given up to 14 days after exposure to reduce the symptoms.

If you think you may be eligible, based on the current Oregon Health Authority criteria, please contact Benton County Public Health at 541-766-6835.
 

Testing and Treatment

Testing for hMPXV is available. Ask a health care provider about testing if you develop a new rash, bumps, or sores, especially if you know you have been in contact with anyone with the infection. If you do not have a health care provider, call Benton County Public Health, 541-766-6835.

Therapeutics have already been developed to treat similar illnesses which are effective against hMPXV, but are not widely available. Most people who become infected with hMPXV will recover without treatment. Treatment options can be discussed with a medical provider.
 

Community Partner Resources

Benton County Health Department has developed a flyer and a handout to help organizations inform their communities about hMPXV. They are formatted for easy printing and available for download at the bottom of this page.  For the most up to date data, community partner/organization guidance, and resources, visit the Oregon Health Authority.