Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location. COVID-19 call center hours are Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm.

703-246-2411
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

Monkeypox

Last Updated: August 17, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.

How to Find Out if You are Eligible for Monkeypox Vaccination

The Fairfax County Health Department created an online interest form for individuals seeking monkeypox vaccination. Vaccine will be made available to eligible individuals based on risk factors. No one will be denied a vaccine based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic, or citizenship status. People who meet the current eligibility criteria may fill out the interest form to receive a monkeypox vaccine, but, because supply is limited, appointments will be made as supply allows. Minors 17 years old and under must have a parent, guardian, or adult aged 18 or older designated by the parent or guardian present on-site to receive the vaccine. Contact the Health Department Call Center with questions at 703-267-3511 (open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.). 

Learn more about monkeypox vaccines below.

The Fairfax County Health Department is working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and with other local public health agencies to respond to outbreaks of monkeypox occurring in the U.S. and in other countries.

Situation Summary

At this time, the Fairfax Health County Health Department continues to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak and is working with community partners to ensure residents who have been exposed or are at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox receive a vaccination.

Update August 17, 2022:

The process to receive a monkeypox vaccination has been updated. As of August 17, 2022, the Fairfax County Health Department encourages exposed or at-risk individuals to complete an online interest form. Contact the Health Department Call Center with questions at 703-267-3511, open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Update: August 10, 2022:

The Fairfax County Health Department is aware of the FDA’s emergency authorization that enables a change in how the currently licensed Jynneos vaccine is administered, which was issued late Tuesday, Aug. 9. The Fairfax County Health Department is awaiting further guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. Staff are preparing for potential changes in vaccine administration, processes, and procedures. For the time being, the current process (described above) will remain in effect. More information will be provided here as soon as it becomes available. 

The first confirmed U.S. case in the outbreak was announced on May 18, 2022. Since that date additional cases have been identified in multiple states including in Virginia. On August 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak. See update: Fairfax Health District: Monkeypox Update, August 3, 2022

Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox if they have close contact with someone infected with the virus. Most cases have been identified among people who self-identify as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). At this time, the risk of infection to the public is considered to be low.

Information about the current outbreak, including case numbers, is available from the Virginia Department of Health. Additional information is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

About Monkey Pox

Monkeypox is a rare disease in the U.S. It is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same group of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox can make you sick including a rash or sores (pox), often with an earlier flu-like illness. 

How it Spreads

The monkeypox virus can spread when a person comes into contact with the virus from a human, animal or from materials contaminated with the virus.

A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • This contact can happen during intimate sexual contact including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected.

Other ways the monkeypox virus can spread include:

  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
  • People can get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

Signs, Symptoms, and What Monkeypox Looks Like

Monkeypox symptoms generally appear 6−13 days after exposure and, for most people, clear up within two to four weeks.   

The illness often begins with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also 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 look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Within 1 to 4 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash. For some people, this rash may be their only symptom. The rash can look like pimples or blisters. It often begins on the genitals or anus, or in and around the mouth. In these situations, the monkeypox rash could be confused with a more common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The rash might develop on just one part of the body or can appear on many parts of the body. These lesions might be painful.

People with certain conditions may be more likely to develop severe illness. These include people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. 

If you have symptoms, you should separate yourself from other people and pets, cover your lesions, and contact your healthcare provider.

Monkeypox Rash Photos

Monkeypox Rash Photos

Photo credit: UK Health Security Agency, Source: CDC.

Prevention

Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • 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.

While public health works to contain the current outbreak, we want you to have information so you can make informed choices when you are in spaces or situations where monkeypox could be spread through close, intimate contact or during sex. See Social Gatherings, Safer Sex, and Monkeypox to learn more about:

  • How to lower the chance of getting monkeypox at places like raves, parties, clubs, and festivals.
  • How to lower your risk during sex.
  • What to do if you have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms.

CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox at this time. However, vaccination may be recommended for some people who:

  • Are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox
  • May have been exposed to the virus.
  • May have increased risk of being exposed to the virus, such as people who perform laboratory testing to diagnose monkeypox.

Supply of vaccine in the US is limited, screening to identify those who are at higher risk is important so that available vaccine goes to those who are more likely to become infected.

Learn more about vaccination in Virginia.

Testing

Monkeypox is diagnosed through special laboratory tests on samples taken from people or animals suspected of having monkeypox. Testing can be coordinated through the local health department.

Treatment

As with many viral illnesses, treatment mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms. Some treatments are being investigated for monkeypox.

There are 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.

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

What we are still learning

The CDC is closely monitoring worldwide case counts and working to understand the cause of the current cases. 

Researchers are also investigating::

  • If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
  • How often monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
  • Could be present in semen, vaginal fluids, urine, and fecal matter (poop).

Communication Resources and Shareables

Monkeypox Fact Sheet (Virginia Department of Health)

VDH Monkeypox fact sheet

Download English | Spanish

#FFXHealthFact Social Media Shareables

Monkeypox is in the Northern Virginia region. Get the facts and learn how to protect you and your family. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox

Monkeypox spreads social graphic

Download

Think only men who have sex with men can get monkeypox? Think again. Monkeypox is spread via skin-to-skin contact or touching an infected item. So anyone can get and spread monkeypox. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox

Monkeypox anyone can get it graphic

Download

People are infectious with monkeypox from onset of symptoms until the lesions are healing and new skin is forming. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox

Monkeypox fresh layer of skin graphic

Download

Exposed to monkeypox? At hi-risk? Call us to see if you are eligible for a vaccine: 703-267-3511

Monkeypox vaccines are safe graphic

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If you contract monkeypox, be sure to follow your care protocol to prevent spread to others. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox

Monkeypox dos and donts graphic

Download

More Shareables and Communication Resources

CDC: Print Resources

VDH: Communication Resources

Vaccine

About monkeypox vaccine

Two vaccines may be used for the prevention of monkeypox disease:

  • JYNNEOS vaccine is approved for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox disease.
  • ACAM2000 vaccine is approved for immunization against smallpox disease and made available for use against monkeypox under an Expanded Access Investigational New Drug (EA-IND) protocol.

People can be vaccinated after exposure to monkeypox virus to help prevent monkeypox disease. This is called "post-exposure prophylaxis." 

How to get vaccinated in the Fairfax Health District

The Fairfax County Health Department created an online interest form for individuals seeking monkeypox vaccination. Vaccine will be made available to eligible individuals based on risk factors. No one will be denied a vaccine based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic, or citizenship status. People who meet the current eligibility criteria may fill out the interest form to receive a monkeypox vaccine, but because supply is limited, appointments will be made as supply allows. Minors 17 years old and under must have a parent, guardian, or adult aged 18 or older designated by the parent or guardian present on-site to receive the vaccine. Contact the Health Department call center with questions: 703-267-3511.

Complete the monkeypox vaccine eligibility survey

#FFXHealthFacts on Monkeypox

  • Who is at risk: Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox. Most cases in this outbreak occurred in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. 
  • How it spreads: The most common way monkeypox spreads is from direct contact with the skin, clothes, bedding, or bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus.
  • How long you are contagious: Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed – this can take several weeks.
  • What to do if you think you have been exposed or develop symptoms: If you think you might have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms, call your doctor or healthcare provider. Call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Avoid close contact, including sexual or intimate contact, with anyone until you have been evaluated by a healthcare provider. 
  • Monkeypox risk: Risk to the general public is low, but you should seek medical care immediately if you develop new, unexplained skin rash (lesions, bumps or sores on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills. 
  • How to get tested: The Fairfax County Health Department, via the call center, will coordinate with your healthcare provider to arrange for testing. 
  • What to do if you are sick: While there is no treatment specifically for monkeypox, if you are become ill with monkeypox, there are ways to take care of yourself. Recommendations from the CDC are here. Help prevent the spread to others by notifying your close contacts. 

Information for Healthcare providers

The Virginia Department of Health provides information about monkeypox for healthcare professionals, including those working in acute care hospitals, physicians’ offices, urgent care centers, and outpatient clinics. The recommendations and guidance may also be applicable to other settings where health care is delivered, such as school/work health clinics.

If evaluating a patient suspected to have monkeypox, call your local health department and implement appropriate infection prevention precautions.

Additional information for clinicians is available from the CDC.

See Health Department Health Alerts and Advisories.

Have questions? 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant