Monkeypox (MPXV) is a disease that causes fever and rash from the virus MPXV, an “orthopoxvirus” similar to smallpox but less severe and rarely fatal. MPXV was a previously rare disease that is currently increasing in prevalence.

How MPXV Can Spread

  • You can contract MPXV through direct skin-to-skin contact with infected MPXV rashes, scabs, or body fluids or objects/fabrics that have been in contact with infected persons. Sexual contact is one kind of skin-to-skin contact with especially high-risk activities including oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
  • Other forms of skin-to-skin contact include hugging, massaging, kissing, prolonged face-to-face contact, or contact with respiratory secretions. Note that this virus is not airborne but can potentially be spread by contact with respiratory droplets when in prolonged close contact with someone infected.
  • Click here for more information on myths and misconceptions about spreading MPXV.

Student Health

If you have symptoms or are exposed to MPXV, immediately call your health care provider or the Student Health Center at UMaryland Immediate Care (UMIC) (667-214-1899) for an appointment for evaluation. The UMIC clinical team is prepared to assist students and employees with this, including testing, if needed, using your personal insurance. Student Health will assist students with MPXV exposures in obtaining Health Department evaluation about the need for vaccination.

Employee Health

For questions regarding exposure, including assistance in obtaining evaluation for vaccine eligibility from the Health Department, please contact Occupational Health UMBOccupationalHealth@som.umaryland.edu. If you have symptoms or are exposed to MPXV, immediately call your health care provider for an evaluation. You may also be evaluated at UMIC (667-214-1899) pending participating insurance coverage. Please call to schedule an appointment for evaluation. For any work-related exposures and symptom evaluation, please speak with your supervisor and call UMIC to schedule an evaluation.

Patient Care Settings

If you are working in a clinical setting and encounter a suspected MPXV case, standard precautions should include a gown, gloves, eye protection, and a fit-tested N95 respirator.

Patients should be immediately isolated from public spaces into a single-person room. Travel and movement within the clinic should be limited to essential purposes. Patients should be instructed to cover lesions as best as possible and to use a surgical face mask.

Alert supervisors and those who are attending to possible MPXV infections.

FAQs

How do I prevent the spread of MPXV?

  • Always practice safe sex. Avoid all close, skin-to-skin contact (e.g., sexual contact, kissing, and touching) with infected or exposed individuals or those with a fever or new skin lesions, including contact with objects and materials from such individuals.
  • Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Isolate (if suspected infection) and avoid close contact (if high-risk exposure).

What are symptoms I should look for?

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • If you have any symptoms of MPXV, call your health care provider. They will ask you questions and schedule an exam.
  • You also can call Student/Employee Health at UMaryland Immediate Care (UMIC) (667-214-1899) for an appointment for evaluation. The UMIC clinical team is prepared to assist students and employees with this, including testing, if needed, using your personal insurance.
  • If possible, isolate immediately and avoid sex or any close contact with other people until you have been seen by a health care provider, and follow their guidance.

What should I do if I have a high-risk exposure?

  • If you have had a high- or intermediate-risk exposure to MPXV (see here for what constitutes such exposures), you need to call your health care provider immediately to evaluate you and consider providing you post-exposure prophylaxis with one of the two approved vaccines (ACAM2000 or Jynneos). The vaccine should be given as soon as possible after your exposure. At present, access to the limited vaccine supply is via the Department of Health. Please contact UMBOccupationalHealth@som.umaryland.edu for assistance with contacting the correct Department of Health to evaluate your situation.
  • If the exposure occurred during patient care activities (see below), immediately tell your supervisor and call UMIC at 667-214-1899, or, if unavailable, email UMBOccupationalHealth@som.umaryland.edu.

Who should get vaccinated for MPXV?

Should health care workers receive a preventive MPXV vaccination?

  • Routine preventive vaccination of health care workers (besides certain lab personnel) is not recommended at this time, based on Maryland Department of Public Health policy. The exceptions to this would be health care workers with high- or intermediate-risk exposures to known MPXV cases and laboratory staff working directly with MPXV testing. These health care workers should contact University of Maryland Immediate Care (UMIC) at 667-214-1899 to arrange vaccination.

Can I get MPXV from a colleague at work or student in my class?

  • It is highly unlikely you would get MPXV through normal interactions with a colleague at work or while interacting with another student during class. In fact, there are no known cases from these types of interactions.