Monkeypox information

About Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores.


How does Monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox.

Signs and symptoms

People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Most with monkeypox will develop the rash or sores. Two main strains of the monkeypox virus are known to exist; the milder strain is currently circulating. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Visual examples of Monkeypox rash. CDC

What to do if you have had an exposure or symptoms

If you have had an exposure, have symptoms you are concerned about, or need to speak with someone about your risk, please reach out to your primary care provider. Most providers can now do testing for monkeypox through commercial laboratories. Students can schedule appointments with their Student Health Center providers on Monday - Friday through their Student Health Portal or speak with someone after-hours and weekends by calling the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line.


Vaccination helps to protect against monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure. In the United States, JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 are two monkeypox vaccines currently available via the Strategic National Stockpile. At this time, the federal government has allocated a limited number of JYNNEOS vaccine doses to California.

In Orange County, the Orange County Health Care Agency is making vaccine available to those identified at highest risk and appointments can be scheduled at the Othena website. As vaccine supply is very limited, the Health Care Agency suggests that people check back daily on the Othena website for appointment availability. If you are not currently in Orange County, check with your local health department for vaccine availability. UCI’s Student Health Center is working to secure the vaccine to have on hand for the campus student community.

Student Health Center providers and staff have been trained in identifying monkeypox, and our laboratory is prepared to collect and send samples for testing. In addition, we are working to acquire vaccines on campus for students. There are plans for isolation spaces for students living on campus who contract monkeypox and need to self-isolate until the infectious period has passed. UCI continues to work closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency to keep the campus prepared, informed, and healthy.

We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Campus mental health resources are available through the Counseling Center and the Student Health Center. Faculty and staff may seek support through the Employee Assistance Program.