Mpox (previously known as monkeypox) is a rare disease caused by the mpox virus. mpox spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact with rashes or bodily secretions from an individual with mpox. It is also spread through prolonged close contact with respiratory secretions from an ill individual.
The most common symptom of mpox is a rash that looks like pimples or blisters, but also fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion.
Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks. Most people with mpox recover without treatment. People who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Who can get vaccinated for mpox?
At UHS, JYNNEOS (one of the vaccines that prevents mpox) is currently available for the following people:
- People with sexual or intimate contact with someone in the last 14 days who was diagnosed with mpox (whether or not the person with mpox had symptoms at the time of contact).
- People who attended an event or venue where there was known mpox exposure.
- People who attended or had sex at a commercial sex venue.
- Gay men, bisexual men, trans men and women, any men who have sex with men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary individuals who:
- Have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days OR
- Expect to have multiple or anonymous sex partners OR
- Have a new diagnosis of a nationally-reportable sexually transmitted disease (like acute HIV, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis).
- Sexual partners of people with the above risks or people who anticipate experiencing the above risks.
- Clinical and research personnel who perform testing for mpox.
- Certain health care providers working in sexual health clinics or other settings directly caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections.
If students meet one of the above criteria, they can request an appointment at UHS. For additional vaccine availability, visit the Public Health Madison & Dane County Mpox Vaccination website.
Who can get tested for mpox?
People can get tested for mpox if they have skin lesions and symptoms consistent with the disease. If students suspect they may have mpox, they can contact UHS via the MyUHS patient portal (select ‘make an appointment’ and follow the mpox prompts).
How can I prevent mpox?
Avoid skin-on-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to mpox.
Currently, mpox vaccinations are limited in Wisconsin. Vaccination guidance is evolving. Continue to seek information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for the latest updates on vaccine eligibility.
What is the risk of mpox to the campus community?
The risk of contracting mpox remains low among the campus community. Mpox is spread through skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who actively has symptoms.
It is important to seek testing and treatment quickly if you are exhibiting a new, unexplained rash along with other mpox symptoms or have had close contact with someone who recently tested positive for mpox.
All members of the UW–Madison community deserve to feel welcome, valued and safe. We do not tolerate harassment and discrimination, and racist behaviors and stereotyping are inconsistent with the values of UW–Madison. The Office of Compliance and Dean of Students Office provide resources and reporting options for students, faculty and staff.