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

Mpox (Monkeypox)

Last Updated: December 22, 2022

 

If you need an mpox vaccine, please call 703-267-3511. Learn more about eligibility below.

Situation Summary

Update: December 2022

We are in the progress of updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision. The Biden Harris Administration announced support for the name change and the adoption by federal agencies. 

Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get mpox 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.

The Fairfax Health County Health Department continues to respond to the current mpox outbreak and is working with community partners to ensure residents who have been exposed or are at higher risk of exposure to mpox receive a vaccination. 

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 Mpox

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

How it Spreads

The mpox 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 mpox 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.

  • Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash and scabs from a person with monkeypox, as well as contact with their saliva, upper respiratory secretions (snot, mucus), and areas around the anus, rectum, or vagina.
  • This contact can happen during intimate sexual contact including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with mpox
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact

The risk is considered low for getting monkeypox by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox and not disinfected, such as clothing, bedding, towels, fetish gear, or sex toys.

Other ways the mpox virus can spread include:

  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
  • People can get mpox 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.

Mpox does not spread from person to person through:

  • Casual conversation with someone who is infected
  • Walking by someone who is infected

Signs, symptoms, and what mpox looks like

Mpox 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 mpox 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.

Mpox 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, separate yourself from other people and pets, cover your lesions, and contact your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has mpox.

Mpox Rash Photos

Monkeypox Rash Photos

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

Prevention

Take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:

  • 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.The rash might appear on the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, vagina) or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
    • Do not share 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, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
  • Wear a mask in situations where you may have lengthy or close face-to-face contact with people who may be infected.

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 mpox could be spread through close, intimate contact or during sex. 

Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. But the best preventive measure is to avoid sex with multiple or anonymous partners, which is currently the highest-risk activity. Consider temporarily changing some behaviors activities that may increase your risk of being exposed. See Social Gatherings, Safer Sex, and Monkeypox to learn more about:

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

Learn more about risks for mpox from VDH

Testing

If you have symptoms, you should separate yourself from other people and pets, cover your lesions, and contact your health care provider. 
  • Call your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment and arrange for testing.
  • If you do not have a health care provider, some urgent care facilities are seeing patients with symptoms consistent with mpox and providing testing. Call before you go and let them know that you are concerned about mpox.
  • If you do not have a health care provider and are unable to be seen at an urgent care facility, the call center may assist you with scheduling a test. Call 703-267-3511.

Your healthcare provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing or they may send you to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.

Learn more about testing from the CDC

Steps to take if you have or think you might have mpox

If you have symptoms, separate yourself from other people and pets, cover your lesions, and contact your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has mpox.

Please call ahead before going to a healthcare facility and let them know that you are concerned about mpox.

Isolate

If you have mpox, you are advised to stay at home (isolate) until your monkeypox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed. Staying away from other people and not sharing things you have touched with others will help prevent the spread of mpox. Mpox can also spread to animals, so staying away from pets, livestock and other animals is important.

Inform your contacts

It’s important to notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed to mpox as soon as possible, so they can watch for signs and symptoms, get tested and isolate if they have symptoms, and consider getting vaccinated.

The Health Department can help you confidentially notify your contacts and help them monitor their symptoms so that if they do get sick, they can get tested quickly.  

Self-care

As with many viral illnesses, treatment mainly involves supportive care and relief of symptoms. Learn how to take care of yourself and manage your symptoms.
 

Treatment

There are no treatments specifically for mpox virus infections. However, mpox 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 mpox 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. Not everyone who has symptoms of mpox is recommended to take treatments.

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 mpox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with mpox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
  • Whether mpox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces (poop).

Communication resources and shareables

Mpox Fact Sheet (Virginia Department of Health)

VDH Monkeypox fact sheet

Download English | Spanish

#FFXHealthFact Social Media Shareables

Mpox 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 mpox? Think again. Mpox is spread via skin-to-skin contact or touching an infected item. So anyone can get and spread mpox. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/monkeypox

Monkeypox anyone can get it graphic

Download

People are infectious with mpox 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 mpox? At hi-risk? Call us to see if you are eligible for a vaccine: 703-267-3511

Monkeypox vaccines are safe graphic

Download

If you contract mpox, 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

What is Fairfax County Health Department doing to respond to this mpox outbreak?

The first confirmed U.S. case in the outbreak was announced on May 18, 2022. The first case of Mpox in Northern Virginia was confirmed on May 27, 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 mpox outbreak.

The Fairfax County Health Department is working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and with other local public health agencies to respond to the current mpox outbreak. Key activities include: 

  • Quickly identifying and responding to cases of mpox through testing and case and contact investigations and taking the appropriate public health action to reduce its spread.
  • Administering mpox vaccines to eligible individuals directly and through partner organizations.
  • Consultation with health care providers in the community to provide public health guidance and reach those most at risk in the community.
  • Conducting communication and outreach through equity-focused engagement with organizations as well as the general public.

See this September 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak Update to the Health Care Advisory Board from the Fairfax County Health Department. 

About the Mpox Vaccine

About mpox vaccine

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

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

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

People should take precautions to reduce their exposure to monkeypox until two weeks after receiving the second vaccine dose and immune protection from vaccines has reached its maximum.

 

Who should get a mpox vaccine

CDC and VDH do not recommend widespread vaccination against mpox at this time. Vaccination is recommended for people who have been exposed or who are at higher risk of being exposed to mpox

On September 26, the Virginia Department of Health expanded eligibility for who can receive a mpox vaccine. This includes: 

  • People with a known exposure to someone with mpox; 
  • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had anonymous or multiple (more than 1) sexual partners in the last 2 weeks; or 
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); or 
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs); or
  • People of any sexual orientation or gender who:
    • Are living with HIV/AIDS
    • Has been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infection in the past three months.

At this time, most clinicians and laboratorians in the United States are not advised to receive mpox vaccine pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Non-residents of Virginia are now eligible to receive the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine. 

Learn more about mpox vaccination in Virginia.

How to get vaccinated in the Fairfax Health District

Vaccine will be made available to eligible individuals. No one will be denied a vaccine based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic, or citizenship status.

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.

The final day to schedule an mpox vaccination with the Fairfax County Health Department using CDC's Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) will be Saturday, Dec. 17. Vaccines will still be available to eligible individuals by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call our call center at 703-267-3511.

Vaccination appointments are available at Fairfax County clinics.

If you have questions or need assistance, please call our call center at 703-267-3511.

What to expect when you get a mpox vaccine

When you arrive for your vaccine appointment, you will check in, complete the necessary registration paperwork, providing your name, address and answers to immunization wellness questions, and then wait to be called to receive your vaccine. You will not be asked about the information you provided in the survey and staff does not have access to that information. The nurse giving you the vaccine will review your health history for allergies before giving you a vaccine.

After your vaccine, you will be asked to wait for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes based on your history of severe allergies, before leaving to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction.

How the mpox vaccine is given

A recent FDA emergency authorization enables a change in how the currently licensed JYNNEOS vaccine is administered. Research shows that giving the JYNNEOS vaccine intradermally is safe and causes a similar immune response against mpox while using a smaller dose. This will enable more people to be vaccinated better protecting our community.

On August 24, the health department began vaccinating individuals 18 years and older who are eligible for the JYNNEOS vaccine with an intradermal injection - a shot given between the layers of the skin (like a TB test), rather than below the skin (subcutaneous). Note: If you have a history of developing keloids, tell your provider. They may suggest getting the vaccine subcutaneously instead. 

Two doses of the vaccine are needed. People who received their first dose as a subcutaneous injection can get their second dose intradermally.

Learn more about how the vaccine is given intradermally and possible side effects from this VDH factsheet.  

For more information, see:

After your mpox vaccine

You should still continue to take precautions after vaccination.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is given in two-doses with 28 days between doses. Maximum immunity occurs 14 days after your second dose (about 6 weeks after your first dose). You should continue to take precautions against mpox between doses.

We don’t know if JYNNEOS will fully protect against mpox virus infection in this outbreak, so infections may occur even if you are vaccinated. If you want to reduce your risk, keep taking preventative measures after being vaccinated.
 

#FFXHealthFacts on Mpox

  • Who is at risk: Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get mpox. Most cases in this outbreak occurred in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. 
  • How it spreads: The most common way mpox spreads is from direct contact with the skin, clothes, bedding, or bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus.
  • How long you are contagious: Mpox 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 mpox 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 mpox. Avoid close contact, including sexual or intimate contact, with anyone until you have been evaluated by a healthcare provider. 
  • Mpox 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 mpox, if you are become ill with mpox, there are ways to take care of yourself. See recommendations from the CDC. Help prevent the spread to others by notifying your close contacts. 

Have questions? 

Contact the Health Department Call Center with questions at 703-267-3511, open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Information for Healthcare providers

The Virginia Department of Health provides information about mpox 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 mpox, 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.

Information for congregate settings

Find information and resources for congregate settings, including K-12 schools and child care programs, institutions of higher education, correctional and detention facilities, and homeless shelters. 

See Virginia Department of Health Mpox Information for Congregate Settings

Have more questions? 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant