Mpox

Updated 3/15/2024

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Mpox virus (formerly known as monkeypox virus).  Cases are still being reported in the U.S. The infection spreads through close personal contact, including but not limited to sexual contact.

Because of the nature of close-knit social and sexual communities, the U.S. continues to see more cases among cisgender gay/queer/bi men who have sex with men, trans women, and sex workers of all genders. 

Learn more about:

Signs and Symptoms of Mpox

Symptoms of illness start within 21 days of exposure to the virus and may include fever, chills, muscle aches, backaches, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and respiratory symptoms. A rash that can look like pimples or blisters may appear 1-4 days after the onset of these flu-like symptoms.  If the Mpox exposure was through sexual contact, rash may appear on or near a person’s genitals (penis, testicles, labia, vagina) or anus.

How Mpox Spreads

Mpox can spread through close, personal skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with the rash, bodily fluids, or respiratory secretions of someone with Mpox, or by touching fabrics (like towels) and objects belonging to that person. Transmission can occur from the time symptoms begin to when the rash or lesions are fully healed.

Recommendations for Reducing Your Risk

Avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like Mpox and avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with Mpox has used.

Here are some recommendations for reducing your risk when in crowds (like parties or clubs) or when being sexually active with others.

Vaccination Eligibility and Availability

Vaccination is recommended for those who have been exposed to Mpox and people who may be at higher risk of exposure.

In New Jersey, the vaccine is only available by appointment at specific New Jersey Department of Health partners across the state. The University does not have access to Mpox vaccines. To learn more about where you could get vaccinated, please follow the links below:

If you live outside of these three states, visit your state’s Department of Health website for information specific to your location. Once you have that information, consider accessing vaccination options local to you. 

If you are a student who has received an Mpox vaccine, please upload the documentation about your vaccination to your MyUHS online portal

Mpox Treatment

In most cases, Mpox will resolve on its own. Supportive care like pain management is  available as needed. There are also antiviral medications that may be recommended for people with severe symptoms or for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems. Only people who meet certain criteria are eligible for antiviral medications. 

Mpox and Isolation

Individuals who have a confirmed Mpox diagnosis are expected to isolate at home or at another location for the duration of the illness, until the rash has healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, which may take 2 to 4 weeks from the onset of the lesions.
Individuals who have a suspected case of Mpox must isolate until they get their test results back.

For graduate and undergraduate students living in University housing, UHS will advise you on your on-campus isolation location and how you will receive meals. The University will work directly with you to determine how best to support your academic progress. 

Faculty, staff, researchers, and students who live off-campus will isolate at home or another location, as recommended by their healthcare provider in consultation with their local health department. For off-campus graduate and undergraduate students, your healthcare provider is UHS, so please start by contacting us.

If Exposed to Mpox

Graduate and undergraduate students, Mpox or are exhibiting any symptoms, contact UHS immediately by calling 609-258-3141.

Staff and faculty, if you had a close contact with a person with Mpox or are exhibiting any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or local health department.

For students, UHS will coordinate with the local health department to conduct a risk assessment to determine the appropriate next steps for you. For employees, this risk assessment will be conducted by your primary care provider or the local health department. In certain cases, post-exposure vaccination may be recommended.

What testing is available for Mpox

Currently, testing for Mpox involves taking swab samples from a lesion or rash. This type of testing must be done through a healthcare provider. There are currently no self-testing options for Mpox  

  • For students, UHS is able to provide testing via Quest Lab. 
  • Faculty and staff should consult their healthcare provider for testing.

For more and up-to-date information about Mpox cases in New Jersey, review the Department of Health's website.

Emotional Support for Students

For emotional support during this time, consider getting connected to staff at the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center or making an appointment with a CPS clinician

University Health Services (UHS) is ready to respond to calls from students who have concerns about potential exposure, as well as to offer care to those who have signs or symptoms of infection. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling us at 609-258-3141.