WCHD is updating web pages with the term “mpox” to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Washington County Health Department is currently monitoring this potential health crisis and will provide updates as needed.
UPDATE – Jan. 24, 2023: Please note that due to the increased availability and eligibility of the Jynneos mpox vaccine, the Maryland Department of Health’s pre-registration system will no longer be active as of January 20, 2023.
What is Human Mpox?
Mpox is a rare but serious illness caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox can infect humans and other animals, such as monkeys and rodents. It typically involves flu-like symptoms and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid and then scab over. Mpox can be confused with infections like syphilis, herpes, or chickenpox. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks. Individuals are infectious until they no longer have a rash. The health department will work with individuals to determine when they are no longer infectious.
What are the symptoms of Mpox?
Symptoms typically appear 1-2 weeks after infection. This can range from 5-21 days. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. The mpox rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. Sometimes people get a rash first or only develop a rash and no other symptoms. Some individuals in the current US outbreak have experienced rashes only in the genital region or other body parts.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you start experiencing symptoms, the most important step you can take is to stay home and isolate yourself from other people in your household. Be alert for the appearance of new rashes characterized by sores, bumps, or fluid-filled bumps, and seek medical evaluation if you develop such a rash. Before your visit, notify your healthcare provider that you are concerned about mpox, and whether you recently had close contact with a person who had a similar rash or a person who has been diagnosed with mpox.
How is Mpox spread?
Mpox is spread in different ways:
- Touching rashes, sores, body fluids, or scabs by hugging, kissing, touching, intimate or sexual contact (Condoms will not prevent mpox. More information on safer sex and mpox can be found here.)
- Contact with objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been contaminated by fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, linens, towels)
- Through respiratory droplets or saliva entering the eyes or mouth following prolonged face-to-face contact, like talking closely with someone
- Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
- It’s also possible for people to get mpox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Mpox is not limited to any sexual orientation or group of people. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has Mpox is at risk.
How can individuals prevent getting Mpox?
Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like Mpox
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox while they remain infectious
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox while they remain infectious
- Do not share skin care products, such as make-up or moisturizer
- Do not touch bedding, towels, clothing
- Avoid prolonged face-to-face contact with someone with mpox
- Wear a mask when in crowded locations, such as in indoor public venues or crowded outdoor events
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to mpox. If given after exposure to mpox, the vaccine is most effective if given within 4 days after being exposed, but can be given up to 14 days after exposure
Vaccine for Mpox
The vaccine supply in Maryland is currently limited. Anyone may pre-register for a vaccine. However, you may not receive an appointment unless you meet select criteria. Preregistration does not guarantee an invitation to book an appointment. Anyone who already pre-registered, and now meets the expanded eligibility criteria, will be contacted.
Eligibility- the expanded criteria for mpox vaccination will include anyone in Maryland who meets any one of the following criteria:
Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who has had multiple or unknown sexual partners in the past two weeks, including those considered higher risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and immunocompromised individuals; or
Anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity who are aware that one or more of their sexual partners from the past two weeks has been exposed to mpox.
Vaccine- The JYNNEOS vaccine is recommended for people age 18 or older who are at high risk for mpox infection.
Doses- Two-dose vaccine. You should receive the second dose at least 4 weeks after the first dose.
Side effects- Side effects are usually mild. Most people have redness, swelling, and pain where they got the shot. Tiredness, headache, and muscle pain can also occur after vaccination.
- The vaccine takes maximum effect 2 weeks after the second dose of vaccine
- We do not have real-world data on how well JYNNEOS protects people from mpox and do not know how well the vaccine will prevent mpox in the current outbreak. As such, it is important to continue other prevention measures such as avoiding sex and other close physical contacts with people who have symptoms of mpox
More information about Mpox
- Mpox Signs and Symptoms – Centers for Disease Control
- Maryland Mpox information site
- CDC Monkeypox information site
- CDC Map of Cases per State