Monkeypox Health Information

Updated: October 26, 2022

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The most recent outbreak of Monkeypox began in May 2022 and has since spread globally. The United States has the highest number of infections, and cases have been reported in all 50 states and Puerto Rico

We will continue to update this page as we learn more. 

Vaccines 

The NH DPHS recommends the following persons receive the JYNNEOS™ vaccine:

  • Persons who identify as gay, bisexual, queer, or other man who has sex with men (MSM) and believe they are at risk for monkeypox virus infection (including persons in a monogamous relationship who have a sex partner that is at higher risk for monkeypox);
  • A person of any gender or sexual orientation whom a provider thinks is at increased risk for monkeypox virus infection; and
  • Persons who report, in the prior 14 days, a known exposure to another person infected with monkeypox virus or contaminated objects.
    • Post-exposure vaccination should ideally occur within 4 days of an exposure to prevent disease, but vaccination should be offered up to 14 days after last exposure.

If you are a UNH student, faculty, and/or staff, meet the above criteria, and would like to receive the vaccine, please fill out the form below and someone at Health & Wellness will reach out to you to set an appointment. 

Request a vaccination appointment

Learn More

 

Frequently Asked Questions: Monkeypox

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

People with monkeypox typically get a distinct rash that changes over time as a person’s illness progresses and then goes away. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, headache, exhaustion, muscle aches, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes people may only have the rash.

Is monkeypox deadly?

The type of monkeypox virus causing the current outbreaks is not usually fatal, and most people will get better within a few weeks after developing symptoms. However, people with a weakened immune system, children under 8 years old, people with a history of eczema, and pregnant or breastfeeding women may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.

What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?

Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but it is often transmitted through close, sustained physical contact, which can include sexual contact. If you think you have symptoms:

  • Avoid hugging, kissing, cuddling, or having sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out at H&W or other healthcare provider.
  • Avoid touching any rash. Do not share personal items like towels, sex toys, and toothbrushes.
  • Talk with your partner(s) about your symptoms.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, consider talking to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

How is the campus responding?

UNH is working closely with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to keep the campus prepared, informed, and healthy. Health & Wellness’ medical providers and staff have been trained in identifying, testing for, and managing monkeypox, and will continue to receive ongoing trainings as necessary. We are also looking into ways to provide monkeypox immunizations on or near campus, though we don’t expect that to be available in the very near future. 

We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Campus mental health resources are available through Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) and Health & Wellness (H&W).

How does monkeypox spread? 

Monkeypox usually spreads from person-to-person through direct physical contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids of another person who has monkeypox, including during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. The monkeypox virus can survive on surfaces, so spread can occur through contact with contaminated objects like bedding and clothing that has come into contact with another person’s infectious body fluids or skin lesion material. It can also spread from an infected person’s respiratory tract during prolonged face-to-face close contact.

When is someone with monkeypox contagious?

A person with monkeypox can spread their infection starting when they first develop symptoms, and they remain contagious until their rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms are not considered contagious or a risk to others.

Can I get monkeypox from talking with someone or being in a room with someone that has monkeypox?

Monkeypox is primarily spread through direct physical contact with another person who is sick with monkeypox or direct physical contact with their infectious body fluids. While monkeypox can be spread through respiratory droplets, this usually requires standing face-to-face with someone who is symptomatic for a long period of time. So briefly talking with someone or being in the same room with a person who has monkeypox is unlikely to cause to infection.

How can I prevent spreading or getting monkeypox in general?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • 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.

How can a person lower their risk during sex?

Even if you feel well, here are some ways to reduce your chances of being exposed to monkeypox if you are sexually active:

  • Make a habit of exchanging contact information with any new partner to allow for sexual health follow-up, if needed.
  • If you receive the monkeypox vaccine, take a temporary break from activities that increase exposure to monkeypox until you are two weeks after your second dose. This will greatly reduce your risk.
  • Limit your number of sex partners to reduce your likelihood of exposure.
  • Condoms (latex or polyurethane) may protect you from exposure to monkeypox during sex. Condoms are available for free—no questions asked—at H&W.
    • Keep in mind condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to monkeypox since the rash can occur on other parts of the body.
  • Dental Dams (latex or polyurethane sheets used between the mouth and genitals) can help reduce risk of transmission during oral sex. Dental dams are available for free—no questions asked—at H&W.
  • Gloves (latex, polyurethane, or nitrile) might also reduce the possibility of exposure if inserting fingers or hands into the body. The gloves must cover all exposed skin and be removed carefully to avoid touching the outer surface.
  • Avoid kissing or exchanging spit since monkeypox can spread this way.
  • Masturbate together at a distance without touching each other and without touching any rash.
  • Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
  • Consider having sex with your clothes on (dry humping) or covering areas where rash is present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.
  • Be aware that monkeypox can also spread through respiratory secretions with close, face-to-face contact.
  • Remember to wash your hands, sex toys, and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothes) after having sex. Learn more about infection control.

Is there a vaccine to prevent monkeypox?

Yes. The JYNNEOS vaccine is the only FDA-approved vaccine to prevent monkeypox and is given as a 2-dose series. The second dose is given 28 days after the first dose. People have maximal protection starting about 14 days after the second dose. Those who are vaccinated should still take precautions to avoid infection since the vaccine does not provide 100% protection (see recommendations above for preventing monkeypox). Even if vaccinated, people should avoid close or physical contact with someone who has monkeypox.

Are there any treatments available for monkeypox?

There are currently no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.