Houston Health Department
Call Center: Vaccination Appointments

832-393-4220

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Page last reviewed: November 23, 2022

Monkeypox

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    What You Should Do

    Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox needs to talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. People at higher risk might include but are not limited to anyone who:

    1. Had contact with someone with a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone  diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
    2. Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
    3. Traveled outside the U.S. to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
    4. Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

    Monkeypox vaccine eligibility for the following groups

    Given the limited current national vaccine supply, the Public Health priority is to administer as many doses of monkeypox vaccine as possible to all eligible people at this time.

    Group A — By invitation only:

    • People confirmed to have had high- or intermediate-risk contact with someone with monkeypox.
    • People who attended an event or venue where there was a high risk of exposure to someone with confirmed monkeypox virus through skin-to-skin or sexual contact.

    Public Health or clinic partners will directly communicate to eligible people to provide details on how and where to access the JYNNEOS vaccine.

    Group B — People age 18 and older who:

    • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who recently have had multiple sexual partners, including anyone currently considered highest risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender men, and transgender women, or individuals with a partner suspected of having monkeypox due to rash or sores,
    • sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender),
    • staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs,
    • are HIV positive or on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),
    • have had a diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis within the previous 12 months, or 
    • have been recommended by their provider to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine due to an immunocompromising condition. (Recipient MUST have a completed Provider Attestation Form)

    People who fall under these eligibility requirements can get vaccinated several ways:

    • Contacting their doctor or healthcare provider to find out if they are a monkeypox vaccine provider. If they are a vaccine provider, people can ask to get vaccinated.
    • Visiting a Public Monkeypox vaccine location with their ID and provide one of the following:
      • Proof of chlamydia, gonorrhea or early syphilis infection in the last 12 months in the form of a lab report (the proof can be shown from your phone, including a screenshot of the result or within a patient portal); OR
      • A monkeypox provider attestation form completed by your doctor (these attestations forms would be provided by a doctor if the patient meets the eligibility requirements but they are not a monkeypox vaccine provider).

    If you have monkeypox symptoms or are currently under isolation for monkeypox, please do not attend the vaccination clinics or walk-up sites. If you think you have monkeypox, please speak with a provider and get tested.

    Who is at risk of getting monkeypox

    The threat of monkeypox to Houston’s population currently remains low. The outbreak currently is largely affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. However, anyone can get monkeypox from having either prolonged face-to-face contact or sex with someone infected with monkeypox. Contact with items such as clothing or linens that previously touched an infected person’s rash or body fuids is another way monkeypox can spread. Below are the top three things you need to know now.

    Learn to recognize the symptoms

    A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the  face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the  hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through  different stages before healing completely. The illness typically  lasts two to four weeks. It can spread from the time symptoms  start until the rash fully heals and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion

    Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after infection.

    Know your risks

    Close face-to-face contact

    Monkeypox can spread from an infected person to a healthy person by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

    Sex

    Even though it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, monkeypox can spread during intimate physical contact between people. This contact can happen when you have sex, including:

    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex, or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox
    • Hugging, massage, kissing or talking closely
    • Touching fabrics, shared surfaces, and objects, such as bedding, towels and sex toys, that were used by a person with monkeypox

    Talk frankly with your partner or partners before having sex and ask if they are experiencing any monkeypox symptoms. 

    Stay alert

    People who suspect that they have monkeypox symptoms such as new unexplained rash or sores need to contact their doctor to set up a screening appointment. For more information about monkeypox, prevention tips and resources, visit houstonhealth.org or call the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.

    Quién corre riesgo de contraer la viruela del mono

    La amenaza de la viruela del mono para la población de Houston sigue siendo baja. Actualmente,
    el brote afecta en gran medida a los homosexuales, bisexuales y otros hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres. Sin embargo, cualquier persona puede contraer la viruela del mono al tener un contacto prolongado directo con otra persona o al tener relaciones sexuales con alguien infectado con la viruela del mono. El contacto con artículos como ropa o ropa de cama que previamente estuvieron expuestos al sarpullido o los fluidos corporales de una persona infectada es otra forma en la que se puede propagar la viruela del mono. A continuación, se encuentran las tres cosas principales que actualmente necesitas saber.

    Aprende a reconocer los síntomas

    Una erupción que puede parecer sarpullido o ampollas que aparece en la cara, dentro de la boca y en otras partes del cuerpo, como las manos, los pies, el pecho, los genitales o el ano. La erupción pasa por
    diferentes etapas antes de curarse por completo. La enfermedad suele durar de dos a cuatro semanas. Puede propagarse desde el momento en que comienzan los síntomas hasta que la erupción se cura por
    completo y se forma una nueva capa de piel.

    • Fiebre
    • Dolor de cabeza
    • Dolores musculares y dolor de espalda
    • Escalofríos
    • Ganglios linfáticos inflamados
    • Agotamiento

    A veces, las personas tienen un sarpullido primero, seguido de otros síntomas; mientras otros solo experimentan el sarpullido. Los síntomas suelen aparecer una o dos semanas después de la infección.

    Conoce tus riesgos

    Contacto cercano con una persona enferma

    La viruela del mono puede propagarse de una persona infectada a una persona sana a través de secreciones respiratorias durante un contacto prolongado cara a cara.

    Sexo

    Aunque no se considera una infección de transmisión sexual, la viruela del mono puede propagarse durante el contacto físico íntimo entre personas. Este contacto puede ocurrir cuando se tienen relaciones sexuales, incluyendo:

    • Sexo oral, anal y vaginal, o al tocar los genitales o el ano de una persona con viruela del mono
    • Abrazar, masajear, besar o hablar de cerca con una persona contagiada.
    • Tocar telas, superficies compartidas y objetos como: ropa de cama, toallas y juguetes sexuales que fueron usados por una persona con viruela del mono.
    • Habla claramente con tu pareja o parejas antes de tener relaciones sexuales y pregúnteles si están experimentando algún síntoma de la viruela del mono.

    Manténte alerta

    Si sospechas que tienes síntomas de viruela del mono, como un nuevo sarpullido o llagas inexplicables, comunícate con tu médico para programar una cita de detección. Para obtener más información sobre la viruela del mono, consejos de prevención y recursos disponibles visita houstonhealth.org o llama al centro de llamadas del Departamento de Salud al 832-393-4220.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    2022 U.S. Monkeypox

    CDC is closely tracking cases of monkeypox recently detected in the United States. CDC urges healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox.

    2022 U.S. Outbreak

    Current Situation in Houston, Texas

    Total Monkeypox/Orthopox Cases

    707

    As of Nov. 23, 2022

    The Houston Health Department laboratory tests for orthopoxvirus. Positive orthopoxvirus cases are considered presumptive monkeypox cases. Samples may be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where they are characterized further through additional tests.

    Community Health Education

    Monkeypox Cases by Race/Ethnicity Group as of 10/28/2022

    Monkeypox cases by race and ethnicity - 11-04-2022

    Monkeypox Vaccinated by Race/Ethnicity Group as of 10/28/2022)

    Monkeypox vaccinated by race and ethnicity - 11-04-2022

    Five Things to Know About Monkeypox