Monkeypox, known as hMPXV, is spreading in the Portland area. It almost always spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact. There is an FDA licensed vaccine for hMPXV, but supply is limited. While we wait for Oregon to get more doses of vaccine, we can take steps to limit the spread of this infection.
You are eligible for a vaccine if you are 18 years or older and you were exposed to someone with possible or confirmed hMPXV in the last 14 days. You will not be required to provide proof of test results. Please call 503-988-8939 if you have been exposed.
Some vaccine is also available for individuals who may be more likely to be exposed. For example, if you had unprotected anal/vaginal/oral sex or intimate skin to skin contact with multiple partners or in a public space in the last 14 days.
The hMPXV vaccine has two doses. In Oregon we are focusing on getting people their first dose. A single dose gives good protection against the disease. Focusing on first doses will also allow us to vaccinate more community members quickly.
- People who are immunocompromised will be scheduled for their second dose in about 4 weeks.
- People who are not immunocompromised will be contacted to get the second dose when more vaccine is available.
Call 503-988-8939 to see if you're eligible and to make an appointment. Supplies are limited, so you may be put on a waiting list.
Reduce your risk
Vaccination is not the only way to reduce your risk of monkeypox infection. Most people have very low risk of catching monkeypox.
Monkeypox usually spreads by having contact with skin that has rashes or sores. Sores can be anywhere on the body, including hands, face, genital area, around the anus or butt, and in the mouth. Reduce your risk of catching monkeypox by:
- Have up to date contact information for partners so you can contact them if you test positive for hMPXV. They may be able to get a preventive vaccine.
- If you have sex with a new partner or partners:
- Have sex in a well-lit place where you can see if someone has a rash on the part of their body that will be in contact with yours.
- Talk openly about whether they have felt sick or noticed new bumps or a rash recently. This is not a “sexy” conversation, for sure, but until we get a lot more vaccines available, this is a way to stop transmission.
- If the suggestions above won’t work, consider taking a break from back room sex and sex club sex until we have community vaccine.
- Consider “keeping your shirt on” at clubs. So far, most of the cases seem to be from direct sexual contact, but we are still learning, and we know that any skin-to-skin contact with the rash or bumps can spread disease.
- Don’t share towels or clothes at the gym, beach, etc.
Who should watch CAREFULLY for rash or sores
- If you start to feel sick with a fever, headache, chills, weakness, fatigue, or swollen lymph nodes.
- This can be the start of many viral infections, including COVID or hMPXV. Not everyone with hMPXV will start with these symptoms. Some people only have a rash. This rash can be quite painful.
- If you have been in close contact with someone who:
- Has been diagnosed with hMPXV
- Is waiting on test results for hMPXV
- Has symptoms
- If you have been at an event or venue as employees or as guests, and had:
- Skin-to-skin contact with others. Remember: skin to skin is NOT only genital area contact–the rash can be on hands and other parts of the body, so things like holding hands with someone who has the rash on their hands, dancing with skin touching, cuddling, massage transmit it.
- Contact with used towels, sheets, clothing or surfaces that others may have used or touched.
We also recommend individuals watch for signs of infection if, in the last 14 days, they have had multiple or anonymous sex partners.
How to identify the rash, bumps or sores
- Look at your whole body in good lighting. Use a mirror to look at your back. Check chest, belly, armpits, back, feet, hands, face, neck. Pay attention to anything that looks like a new bug bite, pimple, ingrown hair, or rash.
- Use a hand mirror and flashlight or desk lamp, or have a partner, friend or housemate help look around the anus and genital area. Shine the light into the mirror instead of directly on the skin. It’s easier to aim, less glare.
- Check your body regularly, such as before or after bathing, if you believe you are at-risk for hMPXV infection.
- Here are pictures of typical rash/sores. Sores can be itchy or incredibly painful, and can be flat or raised, fluid-filled (like little blisters or large pimples) or not. Classic sores have an indent in the middle, but not everyone will develop a classic rash.
- If the sores you have are in your throat or rectum, they may cause significant pain but not be visible.
If you see a rash or have other symptoms
Isolate from others until you can get tested and your results are back and are negative.
- Stay at home except to seek medical care.
- If you live with others, wear a mask in common spaces.
- use a separate bathroom if possible and if not, clean it frequently with a germicidal wipe, and prevent others from touching your bedding, towels, clothes, etc.
- Going outside for recreation is safe and encouraged, but avoid contact with others, especially in indoor spaces, public transportation, or anywhere else your skin may come in contact with surfaces others may touch.
Request testing from your healthcare provider. If you can’t find testing or don’t have a provider, call the Multnomah County STD Clinic at 503-988-3700.
- Give the testing site or clinic current contact information. You should get a call with your results from 3 to 7 days after the test.
- If your test is positive, a team member from the health department will call you and talk about keeping you and your contacts safe. Please take their call. They can reach out to your contacts without sharing your name.
- If you choose not to test: You must stay home and away from other people until the last scab comes off and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed. Usually between 2-4 weeks.
If you get tested you can find out if you need to worry about giving this to others or if you need treatment—most will not. It can also help rule out other treatable infections, like syphilis. Also, getting tested means we know more accurately how much hMPXV is in our community and where it is spreading. This will help public health get more support for our community, including vaccines to help protect community members.