Updated December 15, 2022
Mpox is a disease caused by a virus not commonly seen in the United States. It is a known virus characterized by a rash and can include flu-like symptoms. It usually spreads through close physical contact.
Who can get mpox?
Anyone can get mpox. Men who have sex with men are the socially-connected group most affected in this particular outbreak at present. Most, but not all, of the cases currently in the U.S. have been among men who have sex with men. Because they are the most impacted by this outbreak, this group is considered at higher risk of getting mpox.
JYNNEOS is an FDA-approved vaccine against mpox. It is given in 2 doses at least 28 days apart.
Not everyone needs to get an mpox vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for people who are at greater risk of getting mpox or complications from mpox.
You should get a vaccine if your healthcare provider recommends one or if you
- have had direct and extended skin-to-skin contact with someone with mpox
- are living with HIV
- are eligible to take HIV PrEP or are taking HIV PrEP (PrEP is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or medication taken to prevent an infection)
- have been diagnosed with gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis in the last year
- have had sex with an anonymous partner, in a group, or attended a sex-on-site venue in the last year
- exchange sex for money, goods, or services
- work in a sex-on-site venue or dance in adult entertainment venues
Call 503-988-8939. You will be screened for current symptoms. For ages 12 and up. Anyone younger than 15 years old must have a parent or guardian present.
Who is most at risk of serious illness?
Most people with mpox recover in 2-4 weeks. The rash can be very painful and can leave scars. The disease can be more serious for:
- People who are immunocompromised (including people who are taking immune-compromising medications, are undergoing cancer treatment, have had organ transplants, or are living with HIV or other immune-compromising conditions).
- People who are pregnant
- People with active skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, severe acne, or herpes
How it spreads
The mpox virus doesn’t spread easily. It is most often spread by skin-to-skin contact with the rash/sores of an infected person. This can happen during sex or other direct, prolonged close contact.
It can also spread through:
- Respiratory droplets, during extended face-to-face contact (more than 3 hours)
- Contact with bodily fluids
- Contact with contaminated bedding, clothing, or other items
Avoid prolonged skin-to-skin contact such as through sex or other intimate contact if
you or your partner have new rash or sores, fever, swollen lymph nodes
you suspect you may have been exposed to the virus.
Wear gloves when handling materials such as bedding that have been used by someone with the virus.
Wash hands thoroughly if you have contact with someone with mpox.
If you get symptoms, stay home until you can connect with a health care provider.
Condoms do not prevent the spread of the virus but do prevent spread of other infections.
If someone in your social group has mpox, you are considered at higher risk.
- Advice about prevention for those in higher risk groups.
- Advice for social gatherings like raves, parties, clubs and festivals.
Rash or sores
Everyone with mpox gets a rash or sores (pox). The rash can look similar to other things like acne, bug bites, or some sexually transmitted diseases. The rash may be in places that are hard to see. It can be painful or itchy and occur anywhere on the body including
- Genital area
The rash usually 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.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms before the rash appears, such as
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches
If you have symptoms or think you have been exposed
Contact your doctor or clinic if you develop a new, unexplained, rash or sores on any part of your body. Cover your rash with clothing or bandages if possible.
- Avoid sex or other close, intimate contact until you have been checked out.
- Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
If you think you have been exposed to mpox (OHA) (PDF)
Request testing from your healthcare provider if you have a new rash or skin sores and
- You know you have been in close contact with anyone with mpox
- You have had close skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network known to be experiencing the spread of mpox, such as men who have sex with men who meet partners through websites, apps or social events such as at clubs or parties.
If you can’t find testing or don’t have a provider, call the Multnomah County STD Clinic at 503-988-3700.
- Follow instructions from your healthcare provider
- Continue to isolate until your rash is completely resolved, usually 2-4 weeks from the first day of symptoms.
- Cover skin lesions as much as you can. For example, wear long sleeves and pants, and bandages over sores on exposed skin. Or gloves over hand sores to reduce contact with others.
- Avoid contact with animals, including pets, if possible.
If you get a call from public health, please take our call. We can help make sure that people you may have been in contact with can get a vaccine. We will work with you to do this respectfully and confidentially.
Most people recover on their own in 2-4 weeks without treatment. Your healthcare provider can help you manage your symptoms.
Immune compromised individuals, pregnant people, children and babies, and people with active skin conditions are most at risk for severe illness, and may need treatment.
Treatment might also be needed for those with severe symptoms or complications related to the infection.
If you have symptoms that concern you, contact your medical provider to get a diagnosis and isolate until test results are back (if tested). If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 211 for help finding one.
Learning that a new disease is spreading in a specific community can be upsetting and traumatizing. Especially if you're already experiencing stigma.
You can call the Multnomah County Behavioral Health Crisis line for support at any time. 503-988-4888 or 800-716-9769. Free. Interpretation available in any language.
- Oregon Health Authority
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention Mpox
- About mpox: Frequently Asked Questions (CDC)
- Mpox Facts for People Who are Sexually Active (PDF)