MPOX Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MPOX is a rare disease caused by infection with the MPOX virus. MPOX virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. MPOX symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and MPOX is rarely fatal. MPOX is not related to chickenpox.

About MPOX

How does one contract MPOX?

MPOX can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with MPOX rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with MPOX.
  • Intimate contact such as kissing, cuddling or sex
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPOX
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Contact with respiratory secretions

What are MPOX symptoms?

Symptoms of MPOX can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough), and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

How contagious is MPOX? Is it as contagious as COVID-19?

MPOX virus is a completely different virus than the viruses that cause COVID-19 or measles. It is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace. MPOX spreads through direct contact with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has MPOX, or with direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or sores, such as clothing or linens. It may also spread through respiratory secretions when people have prolonged close, face-to-face contact. Scientists are still researching if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms. According to the CDC, the threat of MPOX to the general population in the US is low.

Exposure, Prevention and Care

How can I protect myself from MPOX?

Take the following steps to protect yourself from 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.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with MPOX has used.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with MPOX.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with MPOX.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

What should I do if I have been exposed to MPOX?

If you believe you’ve been exposed to MPOX, contact the University Health Center or your healthcare provider for further guidance. 


Will someone inform me if I’ve been exposed to MPOX?

When someone has a confirmed case of MPOX, contract tracing by the local health department is initiated. They will reach out to contacts identified by the individual to provide further guidance and discuss preventive treatment options.

What should I do if I am experiencing MPOX symptoms?

Even if you don’t think you’ve been exposed to MPOX, please contact the University Health Center (UHC) at 301.314.8184 or your own healthcare provider to report the symptoms. They will work with the local health department to determine next steps for diagnosis and treatment. You should isolate until your healthcare provider and local health department have cleared you to return to campus. 

If you seek care through your own healthcare provider, please also call the UHC at 301.314.8184 to report your case.


What should I do if I am diagnosed with MPOX?

If you are diagnosed with MPOX, your healthcare provider (including the University Health Center) will work closely with the local health department to provide you continuing guidance and care.

If you seek care through your own healthcare provider, please also call the UHC at 301.314.8184 to report your case.

Is the university disinfecting its facilities for MPOX?

The university’s cleaning and disinfection practices meet the CDC’s criteria for MPOX disinfection. The university will continue to meet all cleaning and disinfection procedures recommended by the CDC.

Is there testing for MPOX on campus?

Testing may be performed in individuals who meet the clinical criteria for testing, either by having MPOX symptoms or being exposed to someone with MPOX.  In those situations, testing can be conducted at the University Health Center once authorized by the health department.

Whom should I notify if I need to be out for a long time recovering?

We recommend that you notify your instructor(s) and/or supervisor if you anticipate missing class or work for an extended period of time. Your healthcare provider can also provide you with documentation if needed.

Is the MPOX vaccine available on campus?

There is a vaccine that may be administered to individuals who have had a confirmed exposure to a confirmed case of MPOX. Currently, this vaccine is only available through the local and state health departments. The health department, through careful contact tracing of the confirmed case, will determine if the vaccine is necessary. At this time it is not indicated to vaccinate the general population.

The Prince George's County Health Department also has a very limited supply of Monkeypox vaccine which is available to certain high-risk individuals. The Prince George's County Health Department is following CDC and MDH recommendations, based on current supply, that vaccine is administered to:

  • Patients who have been identified as close contacts to laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases through contact tracing investigations
  • Presumed contacts that know their sex partners were diagnosed in the past 14 days or have had multiple sex partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox cases

If you meet the above eligibility criteria, please visit the following link to check for appointment availibility and register to make an appointment:

What is informing campus’ response to MPOX?

Campus public health, medical and infectious disease experts work with state and county health officials to coordinate a response plan that follows CDC guidelines and make recommendations to university leadership.

Will the university move to a virtual environment because of MPOX?

Since the threat of MPOX to the general US population is low, there is no plan to move to a virtual environment at this time.