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What is Mpox?
Mpox is a disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. The mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases of mpox detected in the U.S. The current outbreak is disproportionately affecting men who have sex with men, however, anyone can become infected if exposed. Previously, mpox was found mainly in Central and West Africa. It was first identified as a human disease in 1970.
Signs & Symptoms
What are the signs and symptoms of mpox?
People with mpox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
- The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Other symptoms of mpox can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
- Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
- Others only experience a rash.
For more information, regarding please visit the CDC website or ct.gov.
To contact the Student Health Center, call 203-254-4000, ext. 2241
Mpox spreads in a few ways.
- Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with mpox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox, including close intimate/sexual contact.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox and have not been disinfected.
- Contact with respiratory secretions, including kissing and prolonged face-to-face contact.
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
Testing for mpox is conducted by collecting a clinical specimen from suspect skin lesions. A case is confirmed by the presence of mpox virus DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Testing is only possible if there are skin lesions (e.g. a rash with pimples, blisters or scabs).
- Many people infected with mpox have a mild, self-limiting disease course.
- Immunocompromised individuals and individuals with certain medical conditions are more at risk for severe disease.
- Thus far in the United States, the viral genetic group or “clade” of mpox circulating (West or Central African) rarely causes death. There have been no U.S. deaths related to the current U.S. outbreak.
Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is an antiviral drug originally developed to treat smallpox. It is available to treat individuals at high risk for more serious disease due to immunocompromised status or certain medical conditions. Currently in CT, Tecovirimat is only available through the CT State Department of Public Health.
The incubation period is 4–17 days (average 5–13 days).
A person is not contagious until symptoms begin. The illness may last 2–4 weeks. A person is contagious until after all the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
Yes. If a student is diagnosed with mpox, the Student Health Center will consult with the CT Department of Public Health regarding the duration of the required isolation period on a case by case basis.
ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS are the two currently licensed vaccines in the U.S. to prevent smallpox. When properly administered according to current public health guidelines, these vaccines are effective at protecting people against mpox.
Anyone exposed to an individual infectious with mpox should contact their Health Care Provider without delay. The Health Care Provider will determine whether the exposure is a close contact exposure. If so, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) will be recommended. PEP includes mpox vaccination. All exposed individuals will need to monitor for symptoms (for 21 days), check their temperature two times per day and isolate immediately if symptoms develop. Quarantine of asymptomatic exposed individuals is not required.
Currently the CT Department of Public is providing mpox vaccine to individuals meeting the following criteria:
- Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with mpox OR
- Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction (e.g., city/state/country) with known mpox (this includes Connecticut)
If you are eligible to be vaccinated, you should especially consider getting vaccinated if:
- Your partners are showing symptoms of mpox, such as a rash or sores.
- You met recent partners through online applications or social media platforms (such as Grindr, Tinder or Scruff), or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas or other large gatherings.
- You have a condition that may increase your risk for severe disease if infected with mpox virus, such as HIV or another condition that weakens your immune system, or you have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Vaccination is not recommended for individuals with current mpox illness. Persons with mpox symptoms who have had close personal contact with someone with known mpox in the past 14 days should contact the Student Health Center or their health care provider.
- 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. Detailed strategies for reducing risk during sex are outlined on the Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Mpox page on the CDC website.
- Do not share unwashed 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. If you touch skin lesions or clothing, linens, or surfaces that may have had contact with skin lesions, wash your hands immediately.